Split Second

by Joanne Lowery

When thunderstorms skip through our valley,
cymbals and kettle drums announce
goosebumps on the river, high water
making downstream take longer.At the front of the front the first lightning
cracks trees and electrocutes antennas.
We hold our breath, counting and calculating
when our turn will come. Even in the waitingwe die a little, our hearts’ rhythm stumbling
and our eyes dilated with flash.
It’s the same as bomber roar and explosion:
we know what’s coming, try to hide

our flinches as one bolt too close to home
cleaves senses, jumpstarts safety.
Find an old barn first, we pray,
as the crack zigzags and pitchforks.

Unhalved, our wholeness ticks, tocks
what the clock stuttered—nothing missing,
not a speck of infinity lost.


SplitSecond_Lowery_Photo_lgeJoanne Lowery’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, Rattle, Slant, Cottonwood, and Poetry East. She lives in Michigan.

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