We’ve been waiting patiently for summer storms,
familiar gatherings of purple vapor, crisp surprise of lightning
flashing to announce (to those who pay attention) all the violence
we’ve craved. Serenity is stasis, and who would herald calm
when it isn’t much to usher in? A pittance of swollen drops
sticking to our window screens, shimmering in the lamplight.
The midnight strollers are wandering again, shaped in lamplight
for moments, not minutes, undeterred by threatening storms.
And as the folded swath of sari on her shoulder drops,
he’s caught it in ready hands, absently aware. She’s been lightening
his landmarks for twenty years, nearly inaudible syllables of calm
rubbed like salve on a night terror chest that once knew violence.
In the apartment above are the running thumps of youth’s violence,
footfalls growing heavier month by month in artificial lamplight.
I’ve never seen them, but I know they’ve known but little calm
since their eyes’ apple learned to walk. And they pray for this storm
to subside, but they’re terrified: in a thunderless burst of lightning
he will grow; they will age; the pendulum will drop.
Earlier, the sun was hooked on a fishing line, a hazy bob and drop
that made me feel the drug of its heat—my mind in violent
inquiry of the moveable star. I closed my eyes. Lightning
spot mosiacs clustered in the dark. Could it be the lamp’s light
that burns, quiets, and dies is more fixed? Or will the cooling storm
remove this veil so trees are trees, hands are hands, anxiety is calm?
You told me once to seek tranquility. I told you once that word and calm
are not the same. The tranquil man’s head only drops
when he bows it; he doesn’t know the current of summer storms
locked inside a kiss or un-kissed longing, the sustenance of violence
powering the inner, where even in this mutual lamplight
it’s difficult to see. I crave the scare of thunder, the awe of lightning.
The midnight strollers round the bush again, but this time lightning
catches her eye. She points. He hasn’t seen, but nods calmly
and gently touches her back to prod them faster, out of the lamplight,
out of my gaze. They won’t pass again tonight. First fat drops
dot twilight pavement with black. I imagine they run from the violence
like the toddler upstairs to their own little shelter from the storm.
Calm is colored in catharsis: we will weather this storm.
Tomorrow, the momentary thrill of thunder, lightning, violence
will give way to lamplight where a swath of sari drops.