After the Storm


The sudden silence broke up slowly. First
the scuttle of leaves piled on the doorsills
began to sift into new shapes, Bradford pear

from two farms over, sumac from across the
road, the ash torn leaf by seeds. Flowerpots
began to slowly roll back as air shifted, the

storm passing to the northwest. Blizzards
on the state line began to melt in unexpected
warmth while the three-mile fire line in the next

largest city came slowly under control. Shingles
were gathered from the yards, sheet metal from
the outbuildings, and down the road a turtle

lid from a child’s sandbox was retrieved from
a hackberry. All the while, silence was going
from the gaps between the porch rails, sliding

from the piano keys caught in the sun’s shaft
until I heard it slip between the last red petals
of the autumn roses, at rest until the next storm.