City Twist

I saw worms everywhere curling
and pulsating across
the sidewalk the day before. Airport
terminal power mysteriously out

the day before. Seductive electricity
shreds after midnight
the day of. Morning showers
give way just long enough

to put me in a Sunday afternoon
trance. Those sirens have nothing

on us—cat and me—the moment
of. Just a few miles north

flattens. The day before
sinks to the muddy bottom
of puddles where urban legends
have drowned.

Thick Skin on Back Order

Egg-sized but not shaped
hail knocks a fright against the brick
façade. Almost a century standing,

the building won’t fall down
in this maelstrom. The cat yowls
and races across the small-spanned

apartment (rectangle not railroad) before tornado
sirens begin to howl. He knows.

Windows open or closed, ricochet bent or pressure
cooked, twister real or exaggerated—this shelter for survival
may not withstand submission’s ache.

Won’t Turn to Stone

My criminal act concealed
for now we roam beneath bare
branches. Follow the river down

for a radical blossoming
before another cyclone wrecked
hillside. Sneezes for no reason—

there’s never a reason
to be so coy. Forgiveness begins
at the head of the falls.


Do your trills go up
or down, do you believe
in urban tornadoes, ending
on an odd number? Are you defined

by your questions, or do you answer
to a straight line? I wouldn’t
want to live in a world
with only multiple choice, without

adaptation, where streets are
always plumb with rivers
that take us home.

It Turns On

a dime on the coffee bar tile
floor to pick up, orange
traffic cones inverted
in the sidewalk to ponder. It’s a sign 

not to fall 

into warning funnels before predictions
of tornado sirens blare over the radio. The handsome
shop keeper who owns that caché tells me
his beautiful dog sleeps 

behind the snuff 

bottle case. I notice him the way I notice him
so many evenings passing each other by. I go
unnoticed. Lightning inspires
a gray afternoon sky. These things—take 

note. A tornado 

warning gets canceled—
but what’s that sound?