Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dana Levin "Wind" from In the Surgical Theater

My house was a house of winds,
and my father was of the wind,
and we were of the earth

and we were torn by him, we were
stripped by him, by the bellows
of his body, by the twisting

of his voice coming shaking,
elemental, before the kitchen table
where we sat like stones and he stood

like a hammer over the rocks
of our faces, and threw down the glasses
and threw down the plates, the hail of him

scattering across the tiled floor
as he whirled in his fury out the back door,
slamming into the air—

He was gone, he was gone
and the storm was coming, I could hear it
on the radio crackling in the kitchen

as we ran out the door and headed
for the cellar, the dirty wind gusting
and stinging our eyes as my mother

bent down and hurried with the lock—
When she opened the cellar doors
I thought I saw him coming, the grass

bowing down, bowing down, bowed flat
by the black clouds bearing down
like fists, so I ran out to the field

and opened my arms, the flayed skin of my coat
rippling behind me, the voice of my sister
yelling my name, as I streamed out

like a flag into the currents, and felt
the wind slam into all of my sockets,
and stood like a stick and was whittled

to pieces, flying off with the twigs
that kept pelting my face—
I was in the air

but in the arms of my mother, clutching me
and running us back towards the cellar,
and I held her, looking back,

and saw the tornado twisting down
from the sky, coming for us
as we ran on the earth,

and I stretched out my arms because I wanted
to touch it, I stretched out my arms
because I wanted to fly

with the fence-posts in that furious
rapture, in that sky that loved the earth
and hurled the wind down to seize it—

And then we were in the cellar, in the darkness
with the jam jars, while he roared
and tore past our doors.

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