Damage

she decided those years had been water vapor,
condensed, then ruptured
into an updraft,
the mad air ascending,
the vertical spin
flicking like a bullwhip over a field


an inkling, a shimmying
spine of wind


that's what it was like, she said,
volatile conditions


the air rolling horizontally
like a pencil,
clouds the color of asphalt and moss,
a disturbance first under the skin, then
sibilance in the leaves,
crescendo,
ascent


a colossal vessel of air
assembling, lifting off like spun smoke,
the invisible suddenly utterly there,
shapely, voracious


rising to wreckage:
metal, shingles, his things, hers,
glass and laceration --


you do what it takes to keep yourself whole


in Andover the sirens fail,
homes turn to shrapnel, roofs tear off
like flimsy lids, rooms empty
into the sky


the Golden Spur Mobile Home Park
flattened, gone, a sink in the street, a nightstand
with its shot of vodka


she said she'd heard that coins fuse in pockets,
that potatoes bake where they lie
in the earth    cows fly by creaming


in springtime the warm sweet hours
between noon and the first star
are most unstable     a car hovers
three feet over the ground in Wichita


then it's gone


garage doors sail the streets
like sheets of paper, a woman sits
in a ditch beside a tractor


gathers herself, her watch
gone, and her shoes


the tree at her feet blown to kindling


she swears before it spent itself
it turned scarlet --


an elongated seething heart, or a mouth
devouring a nursery of geraniums


they don't touch down you know, she said,
they take everything with them