Notes For My Daughter Against Chasing Storms

From The Baby That Ate Cincinnati. Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013.

Tornadoes swing through like a kid
playing hopscotch, rip one house to splinters
and leave the neighbors unmussed,
up and down, here and there,
they flatten churches on Easter Sunday,
take up whole towns by the roots,
drive a piece of straw into a tree,
stick a single two by four into a roof
and declare it “art,” stack a car
on a car on a motorcycle,
call it a night.

And that, my daughter, is how teenage boys approach love.
I don’t say that it is
evil, more like an amoral force of nature,
they look all pleasant showers before they
tear your roof off and leave
your trees in shreds.
So you may dream of his blue
eyes, cloud-free compliments, the music
he likes, the motorcycle he drives,
the great tattoos on his neck, but

when the skies turn that yellow, that green,
when the hail starts popping through air
fit to boil, you listen
to my forecast, you leave the car
parked, grab a flashlight
with one hand, a blanket with the other, go
for the basement, now you run.

Poem copyright Matt Mason, used here with permission.

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