APRIL 2, 1991 4:55PM WICHITA, KANSAS
Weather was invented for this,
for the darkening and gathering
of green in the clouds
and the damp panting
of the dog at the tree,
for the flag torn off at the mast,
the glass of the bath disturbed
by the draft coming in
through the window.
Outside, Kansas is a platform
narrowed for the sake
of its bushels of wheat,
tied to obstruct the view
from every angle.
The air stops in rungs
of farmersí ladders
before itís flung forward
against an afternoon
that's spun itself into a twister.†
Itís not often that the day
stops long enough for the sway
of the corn to dwindle, or at least
long enough for the breath
thatís needed to snuff a fire,
but today it slows to any uncanny stillness.
In the cellar, candles and their chimneys
sit undisturbed, their flames
fragrant with heat and warning.
The dog drowsing on the cement
knows the world upstairs.
Tilted in sleep, his ear cocked
and confirming filaments pulled loose
from the storm:
Say good-bye to the end of day
now haloed in dark rings of wind,
the skyís black engine inhaling
and exhaling ten miles down the road.
MFA in poetry from The University of Arizona Writing Program
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