Aftermath of the Swell
your words dry up like soil in drought.
Unearthed clumps of rusty brown clay feel like rocks.
When clenched in a frustrated fist they turn to dust and slip through your fingertips leaving a meager pile of dry grit on cracked ground. Easily swept away by the slightest breeze, no trace they ever existed. No record that they were selected and held, turned over in the palm, examined. Like hourglass sand, they’re just gone. You can’t remember what happened in 1998, there’s nothing left from the sift.
Other times there’s a raging storm. The swell comes suddenly. A cumulonimbus emerges from the fingertip of the universe, the edge of a misunderstood dimension. A siren somewhere in Nebraska fires up, tries to warn you, you might recognize the sound, but you’re never really prepared. You stare in fascination at the calm green yellow glow of the adjacent sky as it gets darker. You are a frog in an unwatched pot, unable to look away. Your eyes search for the formation of a vortex like scanning a car crash as one does passing by on a busy highway. Pulse quicker at the thought of broken bodies, exposed bones, and blood. There’s nothing you remember more than the taste of blood in your eyes.
A rogue cumulus the color of Gotham City spirals counterclockwise and collides with the volatile rolling wall cloud racing northeast at a 40 mile per hour clip. It rips a hole in the dense grey gauze above you and rain spills out, pearl white peas spill out, your marbles, guts, and all of 2016 rains down. Bleached walnuts crack windshields a half a block away, break the reflection of the sky but still, you don’t move. You need this disaster. This is the very definition of need.
The pouring rain saturates the ground and starts to collect in pools at your feet. You dance in the swell, open your throat and drink it in giant gulps. If it becomes too deep you find a boat, grab an oar, and give in to the urge to sing. You ride it. You ride up and over each wave. You brace for impact each time the bow of your craft crashes down, but you don’t stop. You ride it. You ride it out, until it subsides.
When the bottom of your boat is low enough to scrape the pavement, you fish one of the bone white walnuts off the sidewalk and squeeze it in your fist. It feels like a rock, it doesn’t yield to the pressure. You squeeze tighter
and the cold of it stings your palm and fingers.
They become red and wet