POEM: 10,000 Thunderstorms

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Look at that, will you...
Look at that, will you...
Let There Be Music

by douglas john imbrogno


AMP Multimedia photoillustration.

1.

Awake, abed, in a
shadowblack room.
Eyes closed. Then,

my field of vision
goes white, the color
of a stick of chalk.

Am I enlightened, at
long last? Or dying,
witnessing the near-death

glow of an itinerant
god? No. Eyes, unwrapped,
search the misty darkness.

Still alive. Then, my ears
move to the fore, alert.
Loud growl of thunder

on the other side
of my bedroom window
shade. Lightning, then.


2.

If I’m to be an
insomniac, a fine
thunderstorm is a

welcome thing.
To entertain. To
relish and divert from

mournful or misbegotten
thought. I ponder
getting up. Going to

my front porch,
storm-sitting perch.
Attending, as if

a courtier, to
the showy pomp
& circumstance of

a storm’s arrival.
But remain prostrate.
Wondering which

thunderstorm this is,
this March night
of my seventh decade.


3.

My hundredth? My
thousandth? How
many thunderstorms are

we allotted in an
average mortal life?
And what of the

storms preceding
hominid life? What beasts
looked up, pricked

their ears, cowered, or
twitched their noses at
the scent of ozone,

left by thunder cracks,
lightning’s perfume. Who
pondered, awake,

restless and maybe
afraid, too, of the
cataclysmic skies,

10,000 thunderstorms
ago? And comfort,
too, it should be said.


Illustration from a photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

4.

Why so violent
a thing as jagged
bolts of livid energy,

separating the
sky in half, maybe
piercing to the

heartwood of
an ancient tree,
leaving smoke

and ash and fire
behind — why,
exactly, does this

grumble and flash
cause my toes to
curl. To draw the

covers to my chin,
feel my partner’s
heated body and

feel safe? Did
such a storm,
10,000 back — no,

say, 100,000
storms ago,
cast down from

heaven’s vault
a blazing spear of
fire, which my

ancestor, yours, too,
not too far descended
from the trees &

African savanna,
ran and braved
to grab.


5.

First flame of the
proto-human race.
And all that such

a legacy bequeathed
the centuries since.
So, that the

quaking sky is
not so fearful,
since our

ancestral memory
cherishes those
times, Prometheus-like,

the howling, purring,
cracked-open sky
left a gift behind.

huntington wv | march 26. 2021


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