The sky grew darker, as if
someone was closing the box on today,
the clouds so gray and cold
you shiver just looking at them
from the window. But that’s how we live,
here on the cusp of December.
Winter’s not quite a month away,
says the calendar. But those of us
who have shaken off the chill,
as well as old November snows,
look at the sky and think the year’s
only as old as it feels.
Today it felt pretty old.
The howling wind blew the slate
And blue, that icy blue that leaves
a halo around the sun before
giving way to the blackness that
canonizes the moon, surrounded
the shreds of steel-wool clouds,
that inevitably cover the sky
like a ragged comforter that’s
put in the inky blanket chest
until next the box opens on a today
Photo © 2014 Joseph Hesch
I’m open to your suggestion,
I said to the sky.
And the wind replied with a sigh,
giving me the cold shoulder
and a shivering, withering brush-off.
I’m willing to look at things
in a new light, I told low winter sun.
She blinked behind a wisp,
a sky-borne snow scarf,
ducked behind a gray curtain,
making shadow puppets
of the passing clouds.
C’mon, Nature, fill me
I whispered to the cardinals,
these pennants adorning
An empty mitten oak leaf
scurried across virgin snowpack
to its slushy demise.
And Nature said, “I just did.”
On the hundred-twentieth day of the drought — I know this because I kept X’ing them off on Mama’s 1892 Sears-Roebuck calendar — I watched big old storm clouds stack up against the distant mountains and heard my Pa say, “Shit, we’re in fer it now.”
“Whatcha mean, Pa…don’t ya think those rain clouds are coming our way?” I said full of a wide-eyed ten-year-old’s belief in miracles.
Pa worked up some juice in his mouth and spit it into the dust that barely held up the dead-dry and stunted corn stalks stretching like pale corduroy toward an east Colorado sunset that turned those hope-filled clouds a right royal purple.
“Son,” Pa said, kneeling down and taking me by the shoulders, “Theys that tell ya ‘Where there’s smoke there’s fire,’ never seen clouds like those, what’ll not bring us rain, but prob’ly Satan’s own hunger.”
I thought better of asking Pa what he meant again, but found out that night when those heaven-sent clouds of mine passed over our place, dropping not rain but lightning on our fields, burning my innocence as black as that quarter of our crop ol’ Satan ate for supper.
This week’s Five Sentence Fiction is based on Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word: Rain.
This last March night, I stand
beneath a black ceiling of clouds
as they break and flow
across the sky, allowing a peek
at the moon and she upon me.
They’re heavenly echoes
of the river ice, once a mass
of winter rigidity, now cracking
and whispering downstream
certain secrets kept for too long.
New whispers, a quietly
inform my reverie. They approach
on the south wind, as new cloud-cracks
reveal the silhouetted band
marching northward across the sky.
I shiver, not so much
from the cold, but because
this flapping pennant affirms
the river’s rumor of spring.
New 100-word drabble shared with dVerse gang, who are looking for poems of animals as portents of good or bad news. To me, there’s little better than the news that after this long rough Winter, Spring–real, warm, green-up Spring–is near.
contrails (Photo credit: Hope For Gorilla)
Their airborne travels are marked
by the cloudy tracks they leave.
Though birds travel the same roads,
they leave barely an echo behind
for us to ponder their paths.
Yet we remember those songs
like scars upon our skin.
And ponder I do, these cool mornings,
when the sky travelers’ prints course
across that field of blue.
I see the east, west, or southerly routes
they took before the sun finished
its own hidden path to morning,
when we can see all. For now.
But the winds aloft and day’s progress
disperse the records of their passing,
just as this old man’s memory
will lose these tracks I here leave,
ethereal poems of here to there.
Please keep them safe for me.
Dogfight (Photo credit: Lens Envy)
A Five Sentence Fiction
That red aeroplane with a yellow nose and tail whips past Cecil Lewis and I take chase as it twists and dives, heading into the clouds, and I know he can’t shake me.
I recognize the flash of the setting sun on the pilot’s goggles when he glances fearfully over his shoulder at me, as I fire burst after burst into his scout, watching him drop below me and knowing he’s done.
The craziness and blood lust that overtakes me at such times ebbs away and I break through the clouds, seeing from my altimeter that we’ve dove to only 200 feet.
But why are the clouds in the wrong place, still below my wings?
The whirling disk in front of me fades away and I see the top of my propeller blade, vertical like that stalactite church steeple hanging down in front of me, and then…that great noise.
Here’s a Five Sentence Fiction using Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word BLADES. It’s a reworked piece of an old short story I wrote, titled Albert Ball Flies Home.
(Photo by Joseph Hesch)
Wind shushes the wrens’ chatter with
a whoosh and branches’ clatter.
The breeze aloft paints clouds
left-to-right across day’s white
canvas sky in swift strokes of gray.
That’s the same direction
these words run, whispering
their questions, wondering at
mysteries this windy hand of man
doesn’t understand from arm’s-length.
The ah-ha hazy answers I leave for those
discerning, far-away cloud readers,
once I exhale onto this white page
these black marks, which, from afar,
look gray, neither-and-nor.
Like those clouds, these sentence strands
scud east always toward open space,
resolute in searching for discoveries,
all the while realizing that dawn’s
only someone else’s yesterday.
With special thanks for the creative exhilaration and happiness rays shipped east by my friend Catherine Mitchell Dudley.
Shared with the gang at dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night.