“Weather Whiplash,” “Thoughts and Prayers,” and “Sharp Edges”

“Weather Whiplash,” “Thoughts and Prayers,” and “Sharp Edges”

Weather Whiplash
Photo by Kevin Wang on Unsplash

Weather Whiplash

Two trees came down across the neighbor’s lawn last night

with the rain, kissing the gutters along the roof, knocking over

patio chairs, but everyone inside, just safe. We are uphill

from the flooding, where the beachfront parade of restaurants

were washed away and the wharf split right into two, a gap

like a missing tooth, downed trees bobbing in the surf like apples.

We walked down to see the damage between storms, even

the governor was there. If anyone wants to make a driftwood

sculpture, now is the time. The businesses are all sandbagged,

the creek still eerily high. There is another barrage of storms

expected tonight, and tomorrow, and next weekend, more rain than

we’ve seen in forty years and the golden hills are a luscious green.

There is a small grove of redwood trees outside my bedroom

window, and just the one that leans slightly towards our unit, that

I keep my eye to every time I venture outside or glance through the

windowpane. The winds might as well have picked up the house

and transported it to Kansas last night, for all their screaming. I

slept on my daughter’s bedroom floor, just to be safe.

With so much pandemic practice, we’re rather good at hunkering

down and postponing the things we’re meant to do, saving them

for tomorrow. We wear disappointment like a badge, roll up our

sleeves when the water seeps through the floorboards, leaving

damp spots in the carpets, brainstorm ways to work from home,

look to our children and reassure them that yes, this too shall pass.

We’re also practiced at checking in on our neighbors, whether

fire or flood, lending a hand down the road when the trees do fall,

or wash up on the shore, or fall to ash, and there are those that wade

through the swell to salvage the stranded. For every flood there is

a flood of volunteers to mop up the debris, to lift up the drenched,

to hold someone, and the super bloom is going to be epic this year.

Thoughts and Prayers

Let me offer you my thoughts and prayers,

because they do nothing for the children

who were gunned down in their classroom

yesterday. I’ve lost count, but it’s March and

it’s already in the hundreds, the mass shootings.

You lock up your beloved gun, you display it,

you wear it proudly on a belt to the grocery

store, just for show, just because you can.

My thoughts:

You’re worried about your rights, that someone

might require some paperwork of you, that a

a favorite weapon of war may not be readily

available should you suddenly covet it and

care to add it to your collection of arms.

Yesterday it was three nine-year old’s and three

of their teachers. Last week, a mall shooting, a

grocery store, a church, someone’s workplace,

a family massacre because dad got angry and was

discouraged by life, decided to end his and a few.

Tomorrow it will be someone else’s child,

someone else’s mother, and our children will

grow up knowing that your right to wear your

gun is greater than the value of their life; not

elsewhere, of course, but here, in the land

of the free, where guns are a God-given right

like water, where the constitution is battered

and pummeled into shape until we can interpret

it as we will, as the right to bear arms for any

purpose, without check, without reason.

My child knows the drill: run, hide, fight,

hide under your desk and wait, listen, as

if the square bit of wood above will shelter

you, keep you safe from flying shards of metal.

But you have my prayers:

That your gun remains safely stowed, locked up,

that the safety remains in place if your child

stumbles upon it hidden in a drawer, in a

glove compartment, that it isn’t your child

who ends up shooting his brother — an accident,

of course — that it isn’t you or your father who

decides to suddenly raise that God-given right

in a sullen moment of rage and take a life:

your life, a loved one’s, a stranger’s,

just because he can.

Sharp Edges

What kind of palm tree

is this – with its fan of

yellow-tipped feathers?

They flutter and dance

in the wind like a peacock’s

unfolded tail. It might as

well be strutting, this tree

with its eager wave, its

quivering dance. What loved

one could it be beckoning?

No bird would willingly land

on its rail-thin stems, its sharp

edges, its needled spikes.

Does it dance, like the peacock,

just to pronounce its gaudy

beauty to the wary observer?

About the Author

Aurore Sibley

Aurore Sibley is a writer, musician and educator living in California. She has two poetry chapbooks published with Finishing Line Press and her writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including The Molotov Cocktail Award Anthology.

Read more work by Aurore Sibley.