Poetry: Untitled

Posted: September 25, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sirens ring
throughout the town.
It’s a warning
of storms to come.

Blank faces project
abject fear,
both old or young,
as shelter is sought.

And then–can be seen
swirling masses of
dark cumulus clouds,
fluffy and frightening

And then–there is #fear
–an eerie silence
All signs heralding

plight to come.
Nature’s warning
of conscious wrath,
and devastation in aftermath.

About this poem.
It has psychic weight and is narrative, concrete, linear, cause and effect. It’s action before, during, and after a #tornado touches down. From West Tennessean, my family lived approximately four miles from what’s known as “a tornado’s path,” which means the storm takes the same journey over the years. It’s an unknown phenomenon of nature. The main path begins about twenty miles from home, crossing #Mississippi into #Tennessee in a straight line, every time.

When the siren sounds, a person doesn’t have a lot of time to reach shelter. Most of our neighbors have storm-houses. Daddy built an underground one that he said could withstand a bomb raid. It was damp in there, but effective. Most of the time a tornado occurred at night and occasionally in the early evening. The point of contact with the ground was always somewhere in the direct path, although the noise could be heard even in the shelter. It sounded like a freight train.

I recall a night when my fiance and I were out and a tornado came through. The drive through the path was central to a V in the middle part of town. We drove through and it was a typical Friday night. Cars were lined up in that V that I mentioned. There was a road on each side and the V affronted a gas station. I don’t know why we were out, because we knew the weather was favorable for a storm. So many cars were lined in rows and filled with other young kids hanging out of car windows–typical in a small town of less than 5,000 in population (at that time).

We took refuge in, of all places, a cemetery. It’s located above my home and a circled gravel road goes all the way around the cemetery. We could hear the storm and it sounded like a freight train going down the highway. Winds rocked the car and I lay down in the floor and put my hands over my ears and screamed. The car shook and he was even scared, but he sat perfectly still with his hands braced on the steering wheel. He said nothing, but his eyes reflected fear.

After the tornado was over and gone, we drove back to the house and the rest of my family were coming out of the storm-house. I’ll never forget that part. Then we drove back to town, which was about four miles away, and into the #tornados #aftermath. The V in the middle of town was there and the same cars we’d seen earlier were still there with a difference. There were no windows, or young kids outside. Some of the cars were blown against one another–totaled. The greatest part of devastation was across the street from the V. I’d never seen anything like it. Houses were flattened and even in the dark you could see debris, personal belongings in trees. Lots strewn everywhere.

There were many tornados to follow and some took lives. On a hill in the path, there used to be a small tax office. The guy who did my taxes was always there, across the road was the nicest restaurant in town. The restaurant was taken and the tax office was gone. The man who prepared my taxes was gone. It’s difficult to explain unless you’ve lived near a path like that, but it was common and still is. Presently, when a storm approaches and the sirens go off, high schools are opened for people to take shelter, if no storm-house is to be had.

Daddy’s underground storm-shelter is still solid. The date he built it and etched in the cement, (on the top and level with the ground) has worn away, but if you really wanted to be industrious, the storm-house can be cleaned out and rid of vines that have since welcomed themselves inside. We used it well and the memories are probably inside with the vines.


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