No time to count: one-one thousand, two- one thousand, three-one thousand. The dome of sky darkens to tourmaline. The countryside blanches in sepia. You look across the stillness of the newly planted fields and see columns of rain charging forward—the press of a hundred-thousand hoof beats— its clouds of steam trailing behind like swatches of pink voile. In an eyeblink, you are no longer standing with your arms loose at your sides in a landscape that’s more than familiar. Everything’s off-kilter, except for the watering can left on the porch. You notice what does and doesn’t stay put, like the way the soft hairs on your arms rise in the air’s electricity.
Alive. How often have you felt it? Walking home from Allen Creek Elementary, with your first perfect spelling test held tight in your fist. It rained, and the smear of red ink taught you a lesson, like your first deep kiss in the back of a Rambler, hidden beneath a canopy of honeysuckle—thoughts, pulsing neon behind closed eyelids, urged you to choose red or green as the hour unfolded in its curtain of rain. Alive. All those split-second decisions you can’t take back, or do over.
Yesterday, the news was weather: a bracelet of thunderstorms, scuttling east, with high winds and hail the size of mothballs. Hard to believe when the sky is blue and empty. You look at the garden’s promise. All those tender plants moored in their rows, unaware of what is to come.
Last night it rained in June’s velvet dark. Thunder rumbling, long and hard, measuring the distance where lightning’s strike of fortune splits the sky’s tight seams and sends its flash on a raid to wake you, shake you in your cast iron bed. You wrap your arms around yourself and listen to the rain in the gutters, against the lilac leaves below your window; filling up the glass left on the porch. Its hurry slows to a lilting melody; and before it stops, you sleep.
M.J. Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Between Worlds is her most recent chapbook, featuring lyric essays, flash fiction and prose poems (Foothills Publishing, 2013). Recent poems, flash fictions, and essays in When Women Waken, Poppy Road Review, Wild: A Quarterly, Eunoia Review, Andrea Reads America, Canto, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, Avocet, Right Hand Pointing, Tiny-lights, The Lake (U.K.), The Kentucky Review, and more. She is the Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on writing and creative sustainability on Red Rooster Farm on mjiuppa.blogspot.com.