Published in Intermission, November 2018
Charlie says the day his momma died
the sky thundered his house so
I am here to assess the sky and discuss
things like how thunder is not an empirically
effective method of co-existing
and how it creates structural damage over time.
I spend hours measuring and sorting the bits and pieces
of the past that are laying around visible
or that show themselves and their previous marks.
This pile seems reliable.
This pile seems gauzy and imprecise.
With no repair history or operating manual
for Charlie some paths
seem likely to be a waste of the little time
I have been given to choose which dents and scratches
to investigate so I wait for the more obvious
to give over.
When an object is
caressed or kicked
or somehow disturbed
it vibrates in such a way.
He prickles the hair on the back of my neck and
the standing wave patterns are thick and slow
in the sudden pressure change.
His words pelt the air.
“Folks are the way they are ‘cause that’s how they’re
gonna be. This fixin’ sessions over.”
As Charlie’s daddy strides over to get him
Charlie kneels frozen with his emotions
ricocheting around the trail
we have blazed witness marked by all the
accidental or intentional times
he has been touched, plucked, yanked, shoved, or forgotten.
He’s right though, Charlie’s daddy.
Some folks are like the weather.
It’s gonna to be how it’s gonna be.
Best learn how to take shelter
from thundering skies
under the umbrella of
respite care, a momma’s helper, mandated family counseling,
and a Safety Plan to calm the thunder.
But I know the storm’s still raging.
I can feel the
vibrations from miles away
and I can’t find a diagnostic code for
slow death by a thousand disturbances.