Storm Warning

Didi Jackson
It wouldn't be during the thunderstorm
that climbs through the night and arrives at 3 am
that I might tell you of the time I was easily fooled
then trapped in a boy's room. It would be a horrible
moment to begin to question the bayonets
of lightning that strike nearby
while sirens howl, calling the night clouds to gather
and bloom like algae then spin into a tornado --
a chain of DNA ripping through town.
While huddling in the basement with candles
that cut like blades through the cellar light,
a reminder of the Dutch Masters and their skill
with shadows, you mention how fair
the sky will be tomorrow, gentle as if nothing
but the stars blazed past us this night,
and I realize that I don't quite know where
we come from, years nailed like shingles,
the rasp of the hackberry against the window
a reminder of our true mortality. We pass the wine
we smuggled down the steps into this cryptlike space
surrounded on all sides by field and river stones
along with a few blankets and the dog and photos
of all the lives we've lived. You ask, _hey, are you okay?_
and I'm sure you must hear my heart banging
like the rain against our house, not from the storm,
though, but from the darkness and rush to this deep space.

Didi Jackson is the author of the poetry collection Moon Jar, a finalist for the Julie Suk Award in Poetry. She serves as an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she teaches creative writing.