Metereological Sestina

By John M.

I know the language of storms,

living here in this place of flat

earth and open sky. Pressure

builds and the sky slowly greens.

And, in my head, a rage of butterflies

tickles the inside of my skull

like a warning, like a skull

and crossbones, harbinger of storms

and violence to come with that flag which flies

up from the horizon, lying flat

in the distance. The land greens

too, in summer, when the pressure

of weather weighs most heavily. Pressure

was not unknown to me before now. Skulls

cracked in my house. There were greens

from old bruises of the storms

that raged through my youth, flat-

tening all. It made me gentle; even flies

I caught and released. Even flies

deserved more than I. The pressure

changed me, taught me to lie flat,

to hide the thoughts, skul-

king from the first hint of storms

that could rip the greens

from trees and ground. And envious greens

freckle me as a solitary bird flies

off in the distance, away from storms

that threaten. It reads the pressure

and knows, somewhere deep in its skull,

that it is time to find a study tree to flat-

ten up against. I, too, would lie flat

against trees for safety. The piney greens

behind the house. The pulse in my skull

beating, beating, like wings of flies--

fast and hard and buzzing. Finally pressure

released in my own wet salty storms.

Storms' grammar are simple and flat:

pressure. But they're also living, a green

whirl that flies though fields and skulls.

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