“The Lightning Continued” by Monica Wendel

Dughet Gaspard (Gaspard Poussin)-xx-Landscape with Lightning-xx-Late 1660s
Landscape with Lightning by Dughet Gaspard, circa 1660

II. The Lightning Continued

To make this state God took a great carpet of sod and unrolled it unsteadily over the ocean and then didn’t bother leaving. So now His name appears on signs with metal legs, stuck into grass, and on highway billboards next to pictures of tiny translucent fetus hands. Not to say there isn’t joy. This morning the thunder smelled like wet rope, I said, Dear God, if You love me, let me live. And He did.

 

IV. Hotel Pilgrim

The waterslide was listed on the website of God’s miracles. And billboards along the drive counted down miles until, until … Still, the Hilton barely banked off it. You could even say they pretended it wasn’t God’s Slide of the Drowning Child and Twelve Apostle’s Face. I made my two hands a cross but it wasn’t the right sign. Flipped it over and a waitress came over — do you need anything hun? Lifeguards watched the pool through grey filtered cameras, counting silences.

 

V. Old Sport

How quickly a hotel room becomes “home” as in, I’m frightened, I’m going home. Smoke rises against the sky like skin on skin. Lightning jumps back and forth between clouds without jumping down. I washed the ashes out of my hair, washed sugar from fingers. Who knew that I would wake up eagle-stretched in a warm bed. Who knew that I would dream of the subway painted yellow passing miles underground. A seam of peat underground smolders overnight and the television expects sinkholes to collapse above it. The fingers of Spanish moss are too damp to catch, too full of insects to be brought indoors. I watch it brush against the window, breaking into grey-green spores.

 

 

Monica Wendel is the author of No Apocalypse (Georgetown Review Press, 2013) and the chapbooks Call it a Window (Midwest Writing Center, 2012) and Pioneer (forthcoming, Thrush Press). These poems were composed at the Jack Kerouac Project of Orlando, Florida, where she was the Spring 2013 writer-in-residence. Currently, Monica lives in Brooklyn and is assistant professor of composition and creative writing at St. Thomas Aquinas College.

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