263. Here It Comes

“Sweet Jesus, help!”
A howling slab of sound
Slammed at her walls,
The room went black,
And Jeanette dropped
And shrieked, but could not
Hear her voice:
“Lord save me! Please!”
She clasped her ears–wind
Whipped inside, lamp
Tottered, toppled,
Smashed, a thousand
Shards, small fires
On the rug she beat out
With her arms. They died, and
Darkness reigned again.
On her knees, weeping
“Lord! Have mercy!”, but
She could not hear
Herself: her hands went
To her rigid,
Open mouth.


Crumbling round their
Ears, the rotted
Pine-board, flying,
Grazed her head as
Barker’s mother stumbled, flailing
In the darkness, grabbing
For her brood.
Where’s Markie? He had
Been right there–
And Daughter, by the pot–
She grasped the hair of
Someone nearby,
Dragged them close,
“Son!” No, they could not
Hear, she could not
See. She scrambled,
Crawling, crab-like
On the floor, her arms and
Legs out, moving sidewise,
In half-moons–
A pan clanged–
Stretching, sinking
Fingernails in flesh
She yanked,
Pulled near,
Thrust out again–until
At last she had them, all
Accounted for: with
Markie’s trembling breathing
Pinned beneath her neck,
A girl beneath each arm,
Barker at one leg, his
Brother at the other, two more
Cushioned thinly by
Her straddling hips, and in
A wailing lump
Beneath her flabby belly,
Desiree, unharmed.
The tar flap from from the door
Had fallen on them, formed
A tarp between their hides
And tumbling wood:
Good day it was, she thought,
I stole that flap.


Alone, the blackness
Blinding, standing in
His shed, ears
Filled with swarming dust,
Odell could hear a sound
More sinister:
A hissing,
And terse pops.
The circuits,
Copper wire,
Calibrated systems,
Frail, fine-tuned receivers
Wrought from plain junk,
By his patient hands–each
Glass tube, metal
Strand that he had
Scrimped and bought, in place of
Bread and beans–
Popping, writhing,
Splitting, twisting,
To the floor.
And the batteries–
Precise electric splicings
He’d probed spotless with
A paintbrush, all were
Drowning in this dirt,
This static rush:
Grit-stained crevices
That he could never clean.
All connections, dead.
“Just let me die.”
At once,
His tongue was caked with mud.


My eyes are plugged; my
Ears are plugged;
My nose is plugged;
My mouth; I’m
Not alive.
No–I feel some air–
The dirt’s piled, but it’s
Just a drift–
I can dig free!
Patty squirmed,
Squeezed from her car.
It was dead.
I can make my way to
Riah’s, thank God!
Patty found the fence
Beside the road.
She bent down low.
Right hand,
Left hand–she crept,
Sightless, clinging, to
Wired barbs.


He was seated in his study.
With a book in hand,
The preacher waited there.
“Dark descended
From the sixth hour
To the ninth.”
He rubbed his brow.
He coughed,
And spat out dirt.
Rising from his horsehide
Chair, he opened up
The drapes. “Veil
Of the temple,
Rent from seam to seam.”
He shook his kerchief,
Wiped his lips
By the blank pane.
“To every one that hath
There shall be given,
And that one shall have
He spat.
“But lo, from him
That hath not
Shall be taken
All his, even what”–
Dark slammed; the glass
Exploded in his face.

3 Responses to “263. Here It Comes”

  1. Gene Says:

    OH! These past few days have been torture! The suspense is killing me! Each morning I rush to read the next poem.

  2. Kaki Warner Says:

    I’m so hooked. Great construction–giving us a glimpse of each person’s struggle. Masterful job of building the tension. And I’m on to the next…

  3. sshaver Says:

    Hi, will respond later today on the Welcome Page.

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