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Matt Bialer



I’m nearby    Haven’t been there in years

Gray, getting dark, some frozen rain

I call my wife    I will be home late

She and my daughter miss me

I wander around the campus    No one around

Getting darker, sooty snowflakes

I can hear the rattle of dead leaves

Buildings look the same:  The East Tower, The Commons,

Bogart Hall    Violent wind and lightning    Chunks

Of black ice    I duck in to my old dorm    A young woman

Shakes me    Calls me by my name    She knows me, kisses me

Has soft skin, dark hair, ponytail, overalls    She’s

Concerned about me    Wants to take me to the infirmary

I tell her I’m married, a father    She tugs at me    Why

Won’t I listen    Sobs, slaps my face    Outside, the pink buds

Of cherry trees    But overgrown blue vines entangle the dorms

Ostriches charge across the Quad, students riding them

And it’s raining falling ash    I stagger towards The Science Building

Meteors everywhere   Gargoyles swoop down, trying to snatch me

I hear laughter, ostrich grunts      I’m in a lab    No one here

I walk among the pendulums, electroscopes and pulleys

Past resistance boxes, industrial coils    I rifle through some textbooks

Diagrams of wavelengths, electron shells, light cones    The ceiling cracks






My daughter wants me to take her along

Sixteen, only thing she’ll do with me now

Sky between Johnson and Richmond

Turns a frightening green    Corn fields

Flowing like white-capped ocean

Insists she bring her boyfriend along -

High school drop-out, tattoos of vipers, DUI’s

My driver and I in our vehicle mounted weather station -

Sheet metal covered SUV      Race towards

Towering cumulus clouds, a supercell

I tell her maybe the two of us but not him

Fine, then I’m not coming   Every storm is different

Clouds gray to black, roiling    Strong gassy smell

We try to stay southeast without hydroplaning

Spot swirling and wind formation   It’s going straight

For all of the homes and businesses, Highway 57

The principal’s office:  She’s skipping school, poor grades,

Excessive body piercing  Dad, fuck them   They hate me

Roof anemometer records wind speeds 158.8 miles per hour

Baseball sized hail   Driver’s side window blows out

Sounds like a waterfall, a jet engine  Last year -

The first dance at my nephew’s wedding   Patio strung with lights,

Grecian columns, French doors    I asked her and she said yes

Wind Beneath My Wings  Laughs,  Dad let me lead, ok?

Cars thrown hundreds of feet    Pieces of tin twisted high up

In snapped trees, power lines  We help a man trapped

Beneath a chimney   Two missing children - bodies found

Tossed  in to the woods behind a house   I once got caught

In the eye  - complete silence and a strange blue glow

Through lightning flashes I looked upward   A hollow column,

Small tornados constantly snaking off    Over a thousand feet tall,

Resembling the inside of a pipe, the column kept swaying gently

Like that night I danced with her   She didn’t say a word

But held me tight

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