Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An hour ago

An hour ago
the air loomed hot
and strangely lethargic
as sudden clouds
climbed high
patches of land
with bright shafts
of dusty sun
pouring between
and spreading
across ripening wheatfields
like a religious postcard
advertising August
in God's Country.

Now, at the shoulder
of Highway 3
the sky is fresh and sharp
a pale blue scrubbed out
after the first few
welcome fat raindrops
in any number of weeks
thickened and gushed
into gray cataracts and rapids
that swirled over my windshield
and swamped the wipers on high
slowing me to a crawl
forcing me to the roadside
where the downpour's noise
pounded my car
became percussive
and hailstones
smashed and drummed
the roof and windshield.

An hour ago
the air loomed hot
and strangely lethargic;
in any one hour,
so much,
a day, a season,
a lifetime
can change;
now I stand ankle deep
with other dazed drivers
among fist-sized hailstones
like piles of steaming skulls
whitening the highway
for a mile either way
count myself lucky
that the windshield
did not cave in
but know the season's grain
growing beside the road
before the sky fell
is flattened and gone.

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