Cumulonimbus
The boy flies downhill like a bolt,
a thunder flapping in his spokes,

while bits of shattered stormlight hiss
and frizzle in the grass. Above,

a cloud-cliff slams the tropopause. 
He brakes his Sting-Ray as the dark

head overtops the trees. Just stop,
he thinks, Just stop, just stop, just stop

—he wishes floods would wash away
his house, his neighborhood, would scrub

him clean as bone—a dove’s bone, or 
a crow’s. He’d be his own, at last, 

the thunderhead blown green above 
the plunging trees. But now some shine 

among the lilacs drives him, trembling, 
through the kitchen screen. His mom 

is slicing onions near the sink.
He tries to find her eyes—he wants

to see it there, that shine, but she’s
a massing cloud, electrical,

a stormhead building to its peak.
It doesn’t matter, really, who

they are. They both are part. He gives,
except for fear. Same flesh, same cells,

she wants the boy to be her. No,
or yes—he doesn’t understand

the question. She is so unhappy.
Whatever dad is not, he is.

That doesn’t make it right. The knife
raps board, relentless, in his mom’s

right hand, the onions’ clear blood runs, 
the dark head blows its load of vowels,

squalling over fences, hedges, 
courts and fields, scouring, but it’s not 

enough. Some trace remains to turn 
himself against himself, as though 

he’d failed her. Lightning arcs from her
to him—the boy smells ozone, singe, 

the funk of pitch. To death, a pine 
will bear the hollow where its heart-

wood’s fried. How lightning serves its tree.
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