Holding Light

Once I tried to understand death.
It came barreling into my life
like a Texas thunderstorm, all noise
and fury. Any gracious effects hidden
beneath black and the thick smell of ozone
left after each crack of light
sliced a path from sky to soil.
Earth fractured
beneath wrinkled clouds
sloughing excess energy.
I used to think if one were to stand,
hands outstretched among the deluge,
these descending strikes could be captured
between quick palms.
Whirlwind ridden,
smell of burnt flesh
ripe on open nostrils.
This was my ride.
The trip I coveted.

I figured, were bred in this nest
of chaos. Electrons and protons
whorling with abandon
as they tossed spare spirits down like
worn die. I knew this boy
who would stand
below outraged sky and bellow.
As if he could provoke the
very gods into scraping
his smooth young innocence
against the floor of heaven.
Wrinkled skin shook as their tongues
clucked and heads
swung to and fro: "tempting the
fates" whispered behind his arched neck.
They saw with worse-case
eyes of age. Everything pained.
But he only ever turned
up drenched,
I wished
to be

that boy bellowing at God, instead I sat,
nose pressed to cool clear glass,
watching wet souls drip down my window
pane. I think of this breeding
ground for quintessence
somedays when the windshield wipers
sweesh drops back and forth into smears
of being. Prodigal souls: melded.
But I don't think to capture the light
anymore. With years comes
recognition of the finite,
and I know were I to stand
arms outstretched
I would only end up
drenched and

Catherine Utsler

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