Dry Lightning

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Feels like it might rain, like something might trickle through the seared air and quench the thirsty, dusty ground. It’s just a feeling though. Nothing to make it true. Even the clouds lie.

Next thing is a flash, a thunder peal, dry lightning somewhere in the hills. You think it’s far away because the bolt is disconnected from its scream.

A fire smolders. The wind spreads it, jumps it over the plowed break in the dry, brown grass. Acrid smoke and deep hued sunsets linger after the flames run their course.

No one dies, nothing changes. We think we’re lucky.

The Guardian

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It was a big tree, gashed along the side away from the barn. My grandpa calls it “The Guardian.”

Said he saw it happen in the big rainstorm of 2012. The sky alight, the thunder rumbling; the dogs scrambling for cover on the porch, yowling like every clap tore open an ear. Then a bolt hit the aspen. Hit it at the leafy top and seared into the trunk, so now you see the scar ripple dark down to the ground.

It’s grown some. Taller now. Stronger. Beloved. Hay bales safe under the barn roof feed the cows all winter.

Doors and Windows

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A clap of thunder sounded and a bolt of lightning rent the sky. Was it Zeus, Thor? She speculated.

A man’s girth filled the doorway. “Move.”

“Give us a break.”

He wore a poncho, blue with an emblem, shoulders uncertain. “Go on.”

She held a square of cardboard above her head. Behind her she pulled a shopping cart, a torn tarp bungeed on top. Arranged so her things stayed dry. Her life, her books.

He turned and went the other way while she rumbled along, not lonely.

She pulled into the next doorway. Maybe some god had tickled his ear.

Looking Back

Looking at the blue jeans I have on today, I remember buying them when I was much younger. They were dark blue, whereas now they are washed blue, showing dots of white throughout. A stylish rectangular hole, approximately two by three inches, bares my knee. The tear had its start on a backpacking trip. I’d like to say a sharp rock abraded the cloth while I knelt to splash my face, but memory has its limits. I had a dog then. If he was here, he would lick my knee and then curl up on the floor for a nap.

via Daily Prompt: Retrospective

Calculating Thunder

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In pairs, we sprawled on a white sectional, arms and legs entwined. A plate glass window framed the grid of city streets. It was one of those sticky summer days that make you want to take a hundred showers. Relieved to drink something cold and watch daylight turn to dusk, our murmurs subsided to whispers. Our eyes closed. Despite the air conditioner’s hum, it smelled like rain.

A bolt of lightning cracked the sky. We counted, and when the thunder clapped, we calculated our distance from the storm, wondering when the elements would come together and the heavens would open.