where I grew up summer had
an intensity. the days were long,
bright and humid.
we would be drenched in sweat by
noon, loitering outside of 7-11 asking
for change to buy slurpees and
the mosquitoes could pile up on us
until we were just slick with
sweat and blood from
both smashing them onto our thighs
and cutting the welts off with our
paper clip knives
we had begun to use to scratch our itches.
and then these winds would hit you.


first, you embrace the coolness
because it was 101 degrees
and when the air drops ten to twenty
in a blow,
it is welcomed.
you feel this more at the beach
but I remember many times shivering,
coming inside after
rains hit to jump
in the shower and others
peeling back the slick of
my shorts, completely stuck

with now rainwater and
my perspiration to my hips
and feeling no respite at the beginning of August.
people forget that February is the coldest month
and that August is a swelter.
even if it was bright outside,
the sky would cut to black.
this was monsoon season.
hurricane season.

 

when a storm hit,
we opened the windows
beckoning the air to come in.

 I watched the
weather channel every morning to
see around what time they predicted the
afternoon thunderstorm would hit and
being more fixated on some measurable instance
of rightness that was public,
was obsessed with dressing exactly appropriately
for the weather each
day before meeting my friends.
on anything sixty nine degrees or above,
I wore shorts and anything above seventy-seven,
a tank top.
I ran and sweat a lot.
also I love getting caught in pure raintstorms.
I was often turning the channel on
and off to time it..

to this day I have not found anything
as soothing as preparation
and facing things
with as much immensity as a southern
coastal storm. 

the thunderclap is so
loud it is alarming.
you feel it.
it is a bomb going off
and lighting quickly follows.
we were taught to count the beats
at the end of the thunder clap
and the sight or sound of
the crackle of lightning
to see how many miles away
the storm was.

but sometimes they coincided
and you saw the lightning hit horizon
if you were on the shore.
waves growing in size.
these clouds moved faster than the current.
rain falling so hard
it felt like needles
or sleet and we named
them:

Allison

Bernard
Cornelia
Duke
Elana
Fred
alternating gender
alphabetically each year

 

as if they
could be shrunk like that,
these wild beasts that
pummeled us,
our uncontrolled.

 

“Oya”

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