Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
 print version

The Teenager Watches the Tornado in Her Rearview

Yesterday, tornado, I lied to my father,
a good man. I told him C. and I were going
to the game, but instead we were in a pickup,
teeth and skin, vinyl–sweating, hollering words
I’ve been told are unholy, but god they felt holy.
We stayed till we turned to salt and ash,
and then drove home, looking just the same.
Later, I found a seatbelt bruise on my hip,
and I stroked it as my blood pulsed
next time, next time, next time.

Now you fill the mirror completely.
All around me, the sky is somewhere
I’ve never been. On the radio, an ad
for Ted’s Tires on 12, the woman’s voice
light like she’s never seen a wicked thing
in her life. The Tercel is rattling
like a tin can tied to a dog’s tail.
I saw that in a movie once. Oh god.
I saw that in a movie. Once. Last night
when I got home my father said, Goodnight,
goodnight, my buffalo gal
, and I thought only,
blank with relief, He doesn’t know.  

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