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Tornado Season

When I imagined the worst, the storm always passed. 

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday, poetry
March 21, 2023

Our youth pastor told me that unlike so many 
other children, I was one of the lucky ones––
at least one of my parents loved me enough to stay.

August transformed Michigan into a brooding world:
thunder clouds unhinged, dampened the light.
A bruise-black herd of swollen bulls crept closer.
Nearby lakes whipped into peaks.

That August, like every August, tornado sirens 
drove us groaning into basements 
with our radios and fruit roll-ups. Through the single, small window 
we watched as blooming dandelions lost their wispy heads, 
levitating from unmowed grass. Broken leaves freed 
themselves, disappeared before we could see 
which direction they went. 

A friendly radio voice said, Well, folks, we had a touchdown, 
but nowhere as bad as we’d feared, thank God. Thank God.
When I imagined the worst, the storm always passed. 
I was one of the lucky ones. 

After, I wandered in our yard to scour 
for damage, surveyed the wilted plants and ravaged trees,
watched the sky return itself to the world.

Did the animals hiding in their holes see how unafraid I was?
Holding the severed heads of weeds in my fists,
I imagined their seeds breaking through the soil,
an army of kin repopulating the Earth.