You can see them coming for hours.
The big storms, building, tumbling
into big Dairy Queen cones,
white topped and melting.
It is a green calm, yellow tinged.
Hot and humid. Those clouds
may not keep their promise.
I'll keep an eye on them
while I hang these sheets to dry.
I can hear the kids inside.
Whining, smackin' each other around.
Arguing over who gets Daddy's chair,
the remote control,
which way to point the box fan.
Best to let them settle it.
May the best kid win.
I keep watching the clouds.
It's getting cooler, darker.
The breeze is picking up, cools the back
of my neck. I'll empty the kid's pool.
The last storm blew the other one away-
eight houses down, under Fred Burke's
old plumbing truck.
Kids come running with weather bulletins
disappointed, no "Killer Tomato" warnings.
"But its gonna rain Momma, buttloads"
You can't sell your kids to gypsies these days,
so I send my little forecasters back inside.
Notice gray clouds going to black.
They still bear watching.
It's a funny thing with me and the big storms.
I stood as a child, spellbound, arms spread.
Wind tugging at my clothes, my hair.
Flowering trees in our big backyard
throwing petals and leaves like confetti.
I would dance a crazy ballet of fear
and excitement, run screaming, laughing
to my mother's side when the lightning
got to close. But now, I relax. Stretch
inside my skin. No tornados in this batch.
The storm should hit around bedtime.
Kids'll sleep right on through it too.
My man will come in with the storm,
shake it off all over the kitchen floor.
Sail his hat over the plate I laid for him.
Miss the coat tree for the fifth time
in as many days.
While he's rubbing away his hat hair
just underneath are those knowing eyes.
He figured out my little secret years ago.
He'll give me that "Daddy's got your Number"
grin, drag me laughing, protesting out to
the porch, into the rain and wind-
croon a Hank Willams ballad into my ear,
move me in a slow wet waltz.