Hurricane Party

by Billy Reynolds

In our kitchen there was this landscape painting
that oversaw all our changes, a tunnel of yellow trees
and a grass path static with fall, the painter
daydreaming nobody around, limestone bluff
and incidental pines, though twice in one day
a small tornado touched down in my sister’s life
and sewed up the idea that hers was a dangerous life:
the black sky caught in the glass behind the bar,
Rhea, clipboard in hand, walking back to the kitchen
to change out the keg, when the funnel cloud
dropped from the god-breathed clouds
and she squinted it into vision. Did she
see the street lights ripe for picking
before she yelled the dinner crowd
into that cold snap cooler, each breath like a comic strip’s
thought cloud? Not a word was said in that locker
for minutes, only breaths, in and out, take it as it comes,
the next day’s salad tossed on every blessed soul
like confetti at a concert, though the tornado passed high,
only clipping a few tiles, before it swerved east and hit her apartment.
It was something you’d curse till kingdom come, amen.
It was something you’d bless with White Russians
and Hurricanes, with hi-fi and Same As It Ever Was,
to sing each storm out, one by one.

Billy Reynolds lives in Tifton, Georgia, where he is an assistant professor of English at Abraham Baldwin College. His poems and reviews have been published in CutBank, DIAGRAM, New Orleans Review, storySouth, and Third Coast, among others.