severe weather

“Severe Weather Warning,” “Alive,” and “Mundane”

by Samantha Rafalowski

Alive

Severe Weather Warning

Droughts are just as dangerous as floods

I’m not an artist I just like holes in my

body

And daydreaming of ink in my veins

Circling in charcoal patterns my father once drew

With strong hands. We shared the old studio.

I’m not emotional I just like the electric color of red eyes

And showering in the dark with someone else’s

Voice echoing my thoughts in the background

Until steam bleeds the ink and fills my lungs to the top.

Evaporate condensate and fall from the sky

My very own breath drenching my body and rolling

Shamefully down my cheeks. But I am formless and

Shapeless and there is only way to empty my mind

Your eyes are my cup my bottle my teapot

I

D

R

I

P

And crash.

But never once touched the ground

Alive

Slow footsteps

You approach the center of a ring

Surrounded by an inflamed crowd

Here he is

The strongest man in the world!

Closed eyes. With one swift movement you

Lift 2,000 pounds above your head

Applause, ladies and gentlemen

A single bead of sweat drips down

Your temple

Noticeable only to those with their pupils

dilating

fixated on you

How steady his hands are! Truly amazing!

Slow footsteps and

Your head is on your pillow

Feet can finally rest alongside

The cinder blocks on your chest

(they need their sleep too)

You insist you are fine but I worry

Sometimes about your breathing

He has broken the world record!

It’s as though the red fern

Grows in your heart

Across the bridge to Terabithia

Applause for our new champion!

You are everyone’s keeper

The fault is in your stars

And I wish I were your feet

Instead of another dumbbell

Or even another fan

Mundane

On Mondays, I pick the seat at the bar where

No one but employees on their break

Sit quietly and chat, thanking the plates in front of them

For breaks in the conversation.

I stand in a long line for tasteless Chinese food that

Is drowned in sauce I hate accompanied by

A stale fortune cookie I feel compelled to take

maybe I am wiser

Than the rest because

where I sit is different

or I constantly narrate my own actions

As one continuous poem

Trying to make sense out of things like

The way I eat my lunch.

it doesn’t matter

everyone else is right

They must be

Despite my fortune

You find beauty in ordinary things.

Appreciate

this

gift.

crunchy bland wisdom under my tongue

my obsessive words spiraling through my mind

Compulsively

I’m not sure why I only write

And never think

I have no reason to be sure

But I have this gift,

or so I’ve been told

let me tell you about ordinary things

like how the mustached man next to me

holds his head in his hands

between bites

and let me tell you

there is nothing ordinary about that at all.

About the Author

Samantha Rafalowski

Samantha Rafalowski is a cloud engineer by day and a poet by night. Poetry is her primary passion, despite having a dual degree from the University of Virginia in Computer Science and Spanish.