Poetry selection from the 2011 issue
Facing the Storm
by Diane Hueter
Beyond the porch light, Daddy sat in a deck chair
by the swimming pool, lighting his cigarette
in a momentary calm. He commanded a clear view
of the western sky, where thunderclouds roiled
like serpents of the deep and bolts of glory
shattered the heavens. Slender firs
swayed, wind-lashed supplicants in silhouette.
Our mother, she always stood
where she could see the red glow of his cigarette
out the square, uncurtained window.
Her fears of snakes, steep roadside chasms,
lightning and thunder, legendary among us.
Our bones told us she only played at ignoring him
as she swished soapy water around our dinner plates.
We knew so little then, we knew so much.
In nightgowns and pajamas,
our faces pressed to the patio door,
we whispered our oohs and ahs. We counted
as they taught us—
one Mississippi two Mississippi—
and cherished them, steadfast and grounded
beneath the dazzle and flash burning across the sky.