Clouds were scattering west, following the night, 
fleeing the scene as if they’d stuck around to see
if anything else might fall and break,
or lay dead in pools
collected along curbs.

Last night, summer skies clashed,
cold and hot air, high pressure and low, everything
exploding, thunder cracking like a lone gunman’s random shots
ripping through the night, the sky screaming
and, in an instant, bleeding light.

Behind the blinds, it appeared as though
armies battled in the dark, booming guns
pounding enemies hidden without and within,
in the heart of the city,
in the heat of the night,
in the promise of damage and destruction,
in the deaths of things.

Morning emerged, wrapped in a damp towel,
a lambent crimson rim on the horizon
like a gash, a tear where day asserted itself
timorously, taking a tentative step into
where the sky had lashed the land,
where the storm unleashed itself,
where the wind and rain shredded artifice
and laid bare roots to expose corruption,
decay, dirt, things buried beneath the
incremental accumulation of discarded time.

She arose, radiant, chin tilted toward what’s
passed and past, her displeasure betrayed
by the usual ruse of regal indifference.

Dawn shimmers away to fill mirage pools,
leaving the August sun to do the heavy lifting
and hopefully dry things out,
clean up the mess,
carry on with what life remains from before the storm
(if what’s broken can still give grief words),
and believe those scattered clouds will never return.