by Rachel Crawford

Northeast Texas, late afternoon,
a grey cloud boils over the hill.
The old folks
know what’s coming, but still
they linger on the porch
a moment too long,
watch the bloody funnel of red dirt
scour the dry corn,
bend and splinter the pines.
Too late, they race the storm
underground. Before frail hands
can bolt the cellar door,
wind unhinges the steel,
tosses it away,
crumpled like tinfoil.
Dim eyes blink into the roiling sky.
Then, from the cellar floor,
a rectangle of blue,
high, thin clouds,
bony sliver of moon.
the old woman says.
Shaking with laughter,
she kisses the old man hard.
He watches her climb the ladder,
one slow foot after the other.
Amen, he says, rising gamely after.

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