Poetry Magazine

watching clouds in oklahoma

there is a blazing white dragon
floating over there in the sunlight
it expands like a balloon filling up
slowly as i watch and there is a
herd of black horses thundering
rumbling directly overhead as if
this sky is just an endless prairie
to be trampled by hooves in a fit
of skittish frenzy i see the glory
of wet orange sunset splashing
through a hole in the sky tonight
trees thrash around like lightning
electric brew in an iron cauldron
these clouds don’t know where
they’re going trapped indecisively
headed north south east west a
double exposure across the sky
i wait for the sizzle of rain to fall
it is tornado season in oklahoma


outside the emergency room

at least the sun is forgiving today
the warmth makes me think of you
and there are birds chattering but
i worry about you and your mother
and grandma is fine considering 90
pneumonia and a bladder infection
she tells me I should be a doctor
and asks what they say in the office
i think she means the nursing home
i tease her to make her smile and
then she is lost and then i am lost
all these lost people here together
it occurs to me i am watching a girl
who cannot stop crying her eyes so
red and swollen something very bad
has happened to someone she loves
a weary woman pleads on her phone
this is the worst time to leave me…
and a cute little boy climbs the back
of my chair only smiling when I look
into his eyes we are all lost together
and i hear a little girl talking about
puking in a car that’s why she’s here
i hear a baby boy crying behind me
there is no happiness in this room
not in the woman in the wheelchair
broken because she’s out of zoloft
not in the couple patting each other
not in the old woman who just stares
not in my mother who waits with me
at least i have a sliver of you inside


Copyright 2005 by Jeffrey Spahr-Summers.