Before the Storm

"Not a calm but a / restlessness"


Not a calm but a 

restlessness, leaves flipped open as in prayer, flag 

half swaying half mast, the first drops a mist 

like spit on quivering 

daisies. A sideward wind on a cast 

iron bench, palm fronds whisper 

together by the trellis 

fence. Past it: ferns the color of damp 

moss lining the path, a crepe myrtle 

molting, mourning, a lamppost 

with a crown. On 

the street beyond the wall 

the buses exhale a deep 

sigh as they arrive and 

depart, nearly 

empty. The springtime hum of the hornet 

tree is today silent, its 

tenants asleep beneath the snug 

earth, hiding, 

not from a calm but from the

restlessness. Not the eye of the 

storm but its beating 

heart, the revving 

engine of gentle thunder purring, 

trees rustling in anticipation drop 

acorns thump against hard ground 

like knocks on the head:


Wake up, wake up, they say, and 

settle down— 

The clouds are rolling into place.