In the second town it rained live minnows.
They flickered in the parking lot
when we got to school.
Mom worried the high-tension wires
would give us cancer. The library
was mildewy with lead paint.
I read all the Nancy Drews. I didn't know
it was cicadas making the mystery
buzz above. I suspected the high-tension wires.
I read Night of the Twisters—
his house hauled into the air, away,
while the boy waits in the basement.
They say it sounds like a train in the distance.
They say the drains make a sucking sound.
The air turns green.
In the second town I wasn't afraid of anything yet.
If there was a ghost I wanted to see it—peered up
the chimney where it swooped and
panicked like a trapped bird. Drip stains, names
carved at the back: it looks like a tombstone
in there, I told my brother. Over the mantle, the clock
quivered and shot
off its nail.
on her made bed—the cornfield was too big, she had
a headache to look at it. She said we made it up, hid
the clock in the basement.
That year the siren went off 6 times but the town
was always safe. Once the radio said waterspouts had crossed
the Mississippi, but they never came.
Fishing in a flooded campsite, dad caught a monster
pike. Its meat tasted saltless, rivery, hard to explain.
Sara Fetherolf was born in California, raised in the Midwest, came of age in the backwoods of New Jersey, and lives in Brooklyn these days. She holds an MFA degree from Hunter College, where she also teaches. Her poetry is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Emrys Journal
, Red Paint Hill
and Heron Tree
, among others.
more by Sara Fetherolf: