I Saw the Tornado, But
by Ryan Favata


I never met the girls from Oklahoma—
___the names from five o’clock. I saw the crushed

grain elevators where they slept, their children
___filthy, eyes to the ground,

gathering hail like seashells.
I tapped on the glass, sure they could hear me

under their homes and schools
___ crushed by the oxygen-rich air—

the circus elephant fishing
___ through green clouds, the feral horse
___ ___ in a pirouette.

It reminds me of a janitor in high school
___ ___ slipping on ice cubes

9th graders would side-arm down the hall.
___ ___ His torso twisted and legs shot

horizontal; the kids laughed—that spring
___ ___ day spilt light and is often one
___ I pray for.

Still the girls are difficult to imagine, the names
___ listed, intertwined: Sarah, Monica,

Jessie, Elizabeth—but they were there, serene like the bog
___ bodies of Denmark, resting near

yawned luggage, near the school yard blooming
___ cotton candy insulation, term papers

damp and tossed like spent gauze—
___ ink running veins across the page.






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