Squall Line, Bradley Stephenson, [2023:41]

Careening from the West,
scouring mesquite scrub
rough as a javelina’s back.
Sprawled on the carpet
in this double-wide trailer,
on the rim of an immense plateau,
I run my finger down
a black groove between
faux planks, recalling
how sunlight saturated this room,
you at the center,
my existence swallowed
by my impulse to love you,
and how when I shook my
flannel shirt out, countless motes of dust
burst out, scattering, floating.
I lie in the dark alone,
threadbare blanket covering me.
A live oak branch rasps the window,
an extinguished fire smolders under clayey loam,
charged tendrils coil over the metal roof.
Thunder drums this wobbly box,
I am both here and not here.
I listen, but don’t speak,
there is no one left to talk to.
Is that the pounding of a hammer
on the rusty metal smoker?
Is that the caw of a ravenous bird?
Will a cloudburst break through the muslin curtains,
puncturing my body with nettled stings?
Will prickly pear, damp from the rain,
bring me yellow flowers in the morning?

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