for Eli and Ananda

“Charles, the past must have its say but not its way.” Nana

After supper we sit on the front steps
and write our names on rough concrete with bits of colored chalk.
We watch lightning shoot sideways across the sky.
Eli is in my lap, my arm over his shoulder.
Ananda leaning on my right side, her hand touching my knee
before the rain began.

Above and around us, thunder! Lightning!
Surrounded by so much power, we laugh and sing a song about Jesus
finally come with tongues of fire and trumpets blown!

Later when my children are asleep
I listen to trains blow through Fairfield carrying soybeans and seed corn
to silos in Ottumwa.
Hail scratches at my window panes with the fingernails of children
lost in a town without power and light.

Trees jump out of the dark in left over lightning
the streets filling with rain.