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Sunday, June 05, 2022


by Lindsay Adkins

As soon as I’ve said it I think—
No, that is wrong.
We are eating dinner at the pub, outside
(because COVID)
while rain pelts the tent over our heads,
rushes down the open sides in small rivers,
and thunder stomps across the horizon.
All the things I would gather in my arms
and shove back into the barrel if I could.
My daughter is afraid of the thunder
and asks for a hug. “Demands”
might be a better word choice.
She isn’t yet two, doesn’t know
the different shades of language.
I explain to her it is just the clouds
banging into one another
like legos in her little fists.
Bang bang, she says.
Bang bang.
Everyone at the table laughs.
But even as I am saying the words
I think no, that isn’t quite right.
Something to do with lightning,
the sound of air cooling,
counting the seconds
from flash to boom
to find the distance between you
and the bolt.
I have oversimplified it.
You should ask your uncle sometime, I say.
The one who’s a meteorologist.
Bang bang, she says, pounding
her hands together,
already sure in her understanding.
My husband’s sister looks at her phone
and sighs.
Another shooting, she says.
In Tulsa. Not a school, a medical building.
I wonder if, when I write this poem,
as I know I will,
the rain will be small coins,
or bullets.
Or just rain.
Rain is, after all, rain—
Any good meteorologist will tell you so.
Having spent all our metaphors and similes
for guns and their blooms already,
we go back to our fries and beers.
Bang, my daughter whispers. Bang.
The lightning flashes, and I begin counting:
How long until this word
means something else to her?

Lindsay Adkins is a writer from Western MA whose work has appeared in Electric Lit, Narrative, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, great weather for MEDIA, Frontier Poetry, and So to Speak Journal, among others. She is a recipient of the Amy Award from Poets & Writers, the Phyllis B. Abrahms Award in Poetry, and an Author Fellowship from the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She has an MFA from Stony Brook Southampton.