Two by Two
by Ann Howells

Storms scour Fort Worth, I watch them
on channel 5: chunky, amorphous shapes
sweeping east in shades of hot pink, deep red,
purple. gutters gargle madly, drains gulp
the brown river roiling with crumpled bags,
wrappers, cups. Traffic proceeds tentatively,
single-file through deep-water intersections,
blinking red lights.

Across the street people gather beneath
a bookstore's striped awning, purchases
gathered to their breasts; a woman
removes open-toe pumps, secures them
in a carryall, dashes for the bus in stocking feet.
Umbrellas bob: red, yellow, black.

Clouds like underbellies of shaggy ponies
drag rooftops; air smells of wet leaves.
Sirens scream, golf-ball-size hail predicted.
A lone taxi pulls to the curb; you step into
sheeting silver, newspaper tented above your head,
mount stairs two by two, shaking rain
from your hair and laughing, laughing.

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