I remember black-fisted storm clouds
hammering the golden fields.
Trellises of lightning
jagged the horizon like an
Etch-A-Sketch of fire.
I remember the scorched white church,
steeple tempting the storm like
the brazen scepter of a defiant pharaoh.
In those days I felt
vibrations trembling underground.
In tense air charged atoms swirled
like tornadoes of fireflies.
Signs were everywhere. Frenzies
of butterflies, honeybees swarmed.
Calm ponds rippled with invisible wind.
Cicadas burred loud as chainsaws.
Orange penumbras haloed the moon.
There was no precise moment
when sirens wailed,
no tectonic punch that froze
control patterns on cable TV.
Was it when prairie fires choked the sun,
our hometown newspaper went south,
the hardware store shut its doors?
I watched witch winds kick up dust.
I heard cattle mourn their dying calves.
I smelt the stench of cordite and burning steel.
When it all became dark, and cold,
stiletto branches cut the inkblot sky,
big moon a dirty pearl.
~ Craig Shaffer