Winner of the Kansas Poetry Month contest, week one: storms (amateur category)
Raised in California, you freeze with each storm warning,
listen for the locomotive roar,
imagine the funnel cloud descending
dark against greenblack dusk.
Strange, I thought. You know
the earth can swallow cars, buildings,
that land can collapse to sea,
that the next Big One is inevitable.
Yet a twister might pass blocks away
and leave us unaware until sirens woke us.
But now I know: you are a child of the land.
Amidst its tremors you brace under doorframes
without fear. I was raised by sky,
its furies as much as its calms.
When the evening chills with the hammer of hail,
the air takes me breathless, tense, home.
— Israel Wasserstein
Israel Wasserstein was born and raised on the Great Plains and currently teaches at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. He received his MFA from the University of New Mexico in 2006. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Flint Hills Review, Blue Mesa Review, Coal City Review, BorderSenses and elsewhere.