The black clouds drag like threadbare cloth
frayed upon the night’s washboard sky,
stained by the brew of a witch’s broth
and the ancient crone’s milk-moon eye.
Crook-fingered oak trees stir the froth
and work the rags as hoarse winds sigh,
shaking, incensed, becoming wroth
as clouds unravel in the dye.
The trees danced lively with the wind,
pleased as a girl with princely courtships,
yet you stood quite still in the end
with a smirk twisting your scarlet lips,
and I knew, then, the truth of Love
and the truth of broken hearts and pain
as the thunder rumbled above
and the world was drowned in frigid rain.
The lightning cackled like a crone
and you left me in sleet-like silence,
unsheltered, wearied, all alone,
and so I would be for too long hence,
but I realized that this storm
existed always around your life
for you were the eye, calm and warm,
yet you were the storm, too, full of strife.
The boy shivered in the shadow
of the island lighthouse,
listening to Triton’s horn blow
and trembling like a trapped mouse,
for the wrathful waves rose up, nigh
with a fury well he knew
when his father’s hands surged up high
to beat him all black and blue.
The sea let loose upon the beach,
on crag, seastack, and sand,
flinging down frothy fists to teach
lessons unto lad and land.
His father had told him to stay
far from the bright beacon,
but the boy willed to disobey
father and lord and deacon.
The townsfolk went along the shore
at the calm of next day
and found the body—but no more;
his soul adrift from the bay.
The children lay in their beds,
waiting for the storm to go,
sheltering with sheets over their heads
while the winds rage and blow.
Neighbors down the street have heard
these tempests a time before,
and though the storm may move onward
it brews always next-door.
The dark clouds finally part
and the stormfront passes by,
but the thunder is still in his heart,
the rains still in her eye.
Through the belly of the midnight storm,
like Jonah in the wallowing whale,
the world remained all aswarm
with rain and wind and biting hail.
The downpour fell heavy as if thrumming
like a blacksmith’s hammer upon the sword
held in Christ’s mouth, his Second Coming
among thunder and lightning—a wrathful lord.
Trees thrashed about in terror-blind mobs
as if to uproot themselves from the earth and go,
and black clouds shrouded behemoth knobs
while the Dragon’s wings deafened all below.
And among the fraying thunderhead
there floated ever after the Reapers,
phantoms wandering from bed to bed—
bad dreams visiting peaceful sleepers.
A fulgurous fighter
with flashy techniques and
raw, elemental power
as his rains pummel the earth.
He punches both down and up the scale,
unconcerned with weight class, sex,
or age, being a brawler by region,
which is to say, by
He is literally a
bombarding the streets with a salvo
that leaves bleeding pot holes,
and gushing, gut-punched gutters.
He is a meteorological pugilist
engaged in atmospheric fisticuffs
and taking a break only
to catch his second wind before
doubling down with a shower of
jabs. He is a dirty fighter
even as he washes the world clean
with his torrential sweat.
His fancy footwork
cascades as rivulets athwart the roads,
tripping up the cars with
hydroplaning leg sweeps,
every fender rattling
with oceanic waves of churning water.
Like a ringside announcer
the Emergency Broadcast System
touts his size and speed and
As if to justify his weight class he
delivers a series of ice-fisted
hail storms, each one harder than the last,
the barrage cracking windows and
windshields, his winds snapping trees and
telephone poles as he playfully
jump-ropes power lines.
Soon, he bellows taunts
with galeforce winds,
roaring like a train as he
spirals round with his special
twister coup de grace,
the preceding silence but a
before the knockout blow
that crumbles his opponents
to their foundations.
Only after the fight, when he has
trotted his victory lap and
thundered his last victory speech
and the limpid stillness
of the aftermath morning
claims the next day as it own
does the hardest fight come—
the fight of telephone calls and
of jaunty, ironic Muzak while
we wait on hold;
of a claim agent
boxing our ears with
clockwork courtesy and patronizing
politeness, smirking and knowing
with the deadly certainty of a professional killer
that we have already lost this
high stakes prize fight
to the true knockout blow
waiting silently, and serenely,
in the fine print.