Another poem inspired by Stephen Locke’s photographs, this one taken after the tornadoes in Oklahoma last week.
After the Storm, the Stars
rise from the Osage Orange, wheeling effortlessly overhead as if
nothing has changed. They shine awake in the fresh open heart of the air,
cleansed free of all but the wind without end that lashes leaves against leaves.
Meanwhile, the rays of remnant clouds burn translucent, then invisible.
The exposed dirt ages in the wind. A slat from a child’s doll cradle grows into
the grass. Paper from two towns away lifts to ferry important words nowhere.
The sky exhales, waits, surges then drops to the disturbed ridge where flowers
rock upside, the rocks from elsewhere dream of the old days, and in the off and on
cadence of distant train whistles someone’s cries come staccaco to this night
wrapped in shimmer and quiet. Tomorrow, not so far from here, there will be
search dogs and careful lifting of sheetrock and broken furniture, then
bulldozers and power saws, rented U-hauls to save, then clear, whatever is left.
Months ahead to measure what was lost, articulate what the weather can do
in numbers and even more, read the brail of the stories left behind. The new world
not conjured arrives here anyway, and over this sprawling tree of life, the stars.