A simple picnic—a moment in their lives.
Susie hugging her bear—Tim & Todd tugging her pig tails—
All three incarcerated in big sister Flora’s bored gaze.
She lies on her side in the soft grass and
Watches lithe clouds pass by, ever transforming.
Flora swears one cloud has the neck of a giraffe & head of a baby elephant.
Her imagination conjures up green spots, and
a tuft of black hair with a matching hat to its skin.
In her mind, the elephant opens a set of eyes,
And they are the same shade of blue as Jack’s.
She drifts on his image, but then shakes her head.
He said he’d call, she thinks. Phew! It’s still cooler
out here than in that house. Flora usually calls it their mutated barn.
The mocking silence of the kitchen phone, and
The kids on full-boil energy had driven her out of the coop
and into the valley next to where her family’s home resides.
There are some trees for shade—while being just out of ring distance—
but still within Mama’s scream—so Susie, Tim & Todd could have their fill.
Blink back to the present, and then she’s up with the swing. “Susanne!”
A flurry of blue cotton down the hill, and she separates
the mixture of children, dirt, & squeals of who started it.
“I don’t care. You are siblings. You have to be nice to each other.”
What a load, she thinks. Alice & Tom have never stopped picking on me.
Hauling the basket, & Susie’s hand, she decided on the story for nap time.
On the crest of the hill, the kids clump closer together, & she realizes it’s
unnaturally quiet—Not a single bird chirping, or cruising, on this hot,
almost-summer day. Flora freezes & the children clutch to her skirt at the
horror unrolling in front of them. A colossal, swirling tower of wind,
energy, debris, & natural rage rips through their father’s barn and mother’s garden,
blasting Earth and everything connected to it into shreds.
She drops to the ground—huddles the—shaking—kids close; their young eyes
can comprehend complete destruction when it is right in front of them.
Glancing back at the scene she had watched for hours through a daydream filter,
the giraffe-elephant-Jack is little more than a loosely knitted gossamer veil.
The sky has turned peculiar colors; perhaps the green spotted cloud hadn’t been all her imagination. Forcing herself to face the situation—only to be shocked again—
it is zigging their way. Then the twister changes its mind and charges the house directly—
T-minus 30-seconds until the whole things gone.
Alas, before the Monster goes through the front door, it slopes to the left and just takes off the remodeled den. The cyclones energy starts disappearing
From the bottom
until everything held high has dropped.
A surge of adrenaline—Flora grabs Susie & Tim—Todd runs along her side,
even running ahead and throwing open the storm cellar doors for her.
In any other moment, she’d praise his chivalry for wanting her to go before him—
but not while her blood is curdling from anxiety. A stomp of her foot,
and he descends—Tim & Susie follow suit.
Slamming the doors and then locking the chain,
She imagines a ring—Jack picking up & her heart singing—
because she can’t wait to tell him her story.