Storm Chasers

by Allen M. Weber

Even in his dreams she’d not surrender

herself to him. But sometimes her blouse,

cotton white, would melt away in the rain.

Like her mother, she’d one day race ahead,

change her name, and marry a landed bastard,

before drinking herself to death. Enduring

a mother skunk’s last gesture, she wiped a tear

from her eye and pedaled past her crushed remains.

Beside the potholed road, a killdeer feigned

a damaged wing. Mike stopped to save the kit

left crying in the briars. He smoothed her fur—

black, cleaved by stripes of white—then sheltered her

beneath his shirt. Standing on his pedals, Mike

raced to close the gap she’d opened between them.

He glimpsed her bike, in the shivering grass

at the base of the water tower,

and Mel, climbing rung after rusted rung

into the marbled gray and yellow sky.

Swooning over the view, he’d follow her,

up ladders far more treacherous than this.

At the catwalk, wind rumbled like a train.

Hail pummeled the empty iron reservoir,

an abandoned timpani thrummed for rows

of hard green apples bobbing below.

Mel teetered on the rail—bare feet kicking

electrified air above the chasm.

She cheered the righteous funnel as it turned

her father’s roof to swirling debris. Her hair

whipped Mike’s face as he encircled her waist

to trust the orphaned skunk into her hands.

Allen lives in Hampton, Virginia with his wife and the youngest two of their three sons. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies—most recently in The Fourth River, Stirling Spoon, and the anthology, Changing Harm to Harmony: Bullies and Bystanders Project.

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March 2019

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle