3 AM Tornado. My Neighbor Has the Only Basement on the Block, So Everybody Gathers There


It’s when the siren howls
and I open my eyes
to dark, I realize
it’s happening

again. Call the neighbor.
The sound of rain whirling
in circles, ensuring
our blind, wet run,

our clothes soaked to the skin.
The neighbor’s basement door
stands open, and the floor
is filling up

with rain, but mostly with
everyone who’d rather
be anywhere after
the storm but here.

We file in with our hair
dripping, clothes sticking, cold
chattering teeth. Some old
guy holds a beer

at 3 AM, so I’m
looking around for one
more, when I spy my son
flirting like there’s

bound to be a morning
no tornado can hurl
from the sky. And the girl
is flirting back

Like there’s no tomorrow
to be spent dragging trees
from crushed roofs. All she needs
is a signal

So she can check Facebook
and see if her friends are
doing anything far
more fun than this.

And who’s to say they’re wrong
these kids, so wide awake
to a future they take
to be preserved

from a now that could be
lost on a night like this,
so close to the sweet kiss
of the All Clear.

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