I was feeling agitated the other night. It was an old familiar feeling of confinement, constraint, that 30 years of sobriety has not erased. But later, when I began to hear the storm in the distance, I realized it was low barometric pressure and ozone coming together with memory to push all my buttons.
Wanting the Storm to Break
In the falling dusk the red maple leaf buds dim to violet,
the greening grass grays and the pines blacken. The sky
is iron end to end, fading down, fading down toward night.
The woodpecker that pounded all day has finally wearied.
Squirrels that ran up/down/up rest quiet now, nose in tail.
Only I at my window and the hawk in the fir still keep watch.
It takes no genius to know the sharp-shinned hawk’s mind —
ever red with appetite, pitiless and free — but what of me?
Once the last light fails, the window makes a muddy mirror.
“If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much,” I’ve said.
Long ago, when this mood was on me, I’d wander downtown
where the liquor poured, or sit in the dark below the roaring dam.
Red with appetite and free, if for a moment only. I’ve had
the American kind of luck in life — to be free from need, but
rarely free from wanting. Wanting more, whatever you got.
And now the air has gone electrical and I smell the oncoming rain.
There is thunder in the distance, drawing near, and flashing light.
If it storms wild enough, long enough, I might lose myself to sleep.
Note: unpublished draft