Smells Like Rain
I’ve been around long enough to recognize
signs of an impending squall.
When wind rattles through the upper branches
of the birch trees,
when it plucks at their leafy aprons
like a bashful toddler child,
and sycamores kick their emerald crinolines,
lift usually subdued voices in raucous animation,
it’s a sure bet a storm approaches.
I can read momentous omens
from tell-tale-green tornado skies, forecast
gully-washers from the immaculate glow
of burgeoning thunderhead clouds.
My basement is a refuge of candles,
of matchbooks, flashlights and jars. Stocked
with bottled water, a transistor radio,
I’ve learned to be prepared, how to ride
the tide, how, when on fire, to stop, drop and roll.
So, when you hover near my office door, boy,
know that I’ve raised two sons already,
that I have younger brothers, a zillion nephews, and I know
by the way your cheeks burn, the hesitant tone
of your stammer, your eyes darting every direction
but mine, that there’s a storm in the making.
Let’s make it easy now, shall we?
Just stop fidgeting, Son, and spill.