According to the National Weather Bureau, the average person
has a one in ten thousand chance of being hit by lightning.
It is storming, and I go for a walk.
The rain is light and irregular,
flickering on my face, sparking off puddles.
The night sky shatters white with lightning like a china saucer
dropped on a black floor.
The thunder hums in my sternum.
The thunder is lions, bass drums in a canyon, empty barrels
bouncing down staircases.
The thunder is nothing in my mouth it hasn't been
in the pens of a thousand poets.
I am barefoot in the rain puddles.
The grit and gravel on the sidewalk
bite at my soles, but that's all right, it's part of it,
It makes the puddles feel cooler and sweeter.
The dark, rich scent of grass and mulch and the fish
of far-off lakes is spiced with ozone, like cayenne in chocolate.
I stand and watch the flashes reflect off the dome of grey cloud,
And speak poetry into the wet air, spooling it out
like kite string. None of it is very memorable.
None of it sticks. None of it brings the storm inside of me,
to flash and mutter inside my chest,
to make my scalp tingle
and my nervous system shatter like the sky.
There are too many trees and streetlights
and tall buildings around for me to fear lightning.
That is not why
I do not fear it.
I have walked in thunderstorms many times in my life. I will yet.
I have written this poem many times in my life. I will yet.
I will walk in thunderstorms ten thousand times
if I need to, for the chance
to find the words that mean
air choked with sound, dark shuddering with light.
Tonight is not one in ten thousand.
Tonight I go home with only
a wet kite string,
to drink a cup of tea and go to bed
with my windows open.