Black clouds circled, low and swift,
and made us think about tornados.
I wondered if we'd recognize
the sound of one in time,
and he said, "If we're hit,
where would you go?"
We watched the skies and saw
in other doors and windows
neighbors' worried faces
peering out to do the same.
"Don't go now," one shouted, "Save
your errands for tomorrow."
Hard rain came from all directions.
We watched it roll in waves
across the parking lots, in sheets
across the canning factory's tin roof.
Cars and trucks passed slowly,
raising giant rooster tails.
Wind pushed through the narrow crack
around our glass front door,
sucked it open far enough
to ring the bell, then blew again
and slammed it shut
like a bad-tempered child.
Thunderstorms are common
on Louisiana afternoons,
but this one wasn't ordinary.
it warned us, "Call your children,
say 'I love you' one more time."