Dorothy’s Twister Didn’t Stop in Munchkinland
It headed out from Oz and colorized the sepia along
the unmarked Kansas county roads, then headed
west against prevailing winds, snapping wires
on the noontime streets, town to town to town.
As it reached my California city, I sat with Mom
and Dad who studied paint chips from the Sherwin-
Williams Book of Whites. There were ecrus, salts
and eggshells. They wondered which, and didn’t
raise their voices. Then the sky went black, the howl
of an angry afternoon. Thundered windows broke.
Newspapers, palm fronds and cellophane
gyred round the funnel. Whole houses gusted up
then fell to wreckage. Later, we unlocked
the door. Outside: a blooming bird of paradise.
A street-tree polka-dotted pomegranate-red. Bees,
once striped black-and-white, now gemstones.
The Governor declared a public holiday. School
was cancelled. It took time adjusting to the glare.
Vivid days, vermillion days, and azure nights
followed all that week and into many years.
It’s all true: oranges, purples, carnadines arranged
into bouquets and yellows sloping steeply
from the mountain to the kelpish browns of tide.
We never said, but we were thankful for the storm.
That was my century. If it’s ended, if my child
can’t remember color, if the city’s ashen, if the skin’s
gunmetalled right into its broken fingernails
then we must recite: Turquoise. Goldenrod. Citrine. Rose.
Photo by Nikolas Noonan