When I was 7 the sirens would go off in Kansas by my elementary school
My family, we’d collect in the basement
with the scratchy carpet and sit on that too cushy indigo couch,
And we’d watch the meteorologist point at colorful maps of the neon, neatly organized county.
But outside it wasn’t neat, the sky was bleeding lightning and the clouds were infected with tornados and the earth was wounded with too much wind and salty rain that tore up the ground
So my brother Sam would put on his helmet and roller-skating knee pads and hand me down
snow coat and run up the stairs and into the yard outside,
the grass the same colors as the sky,
(but the tornado in the wizard of oz is so black and white and terrifying)
And we’d watch him from the tiny rectangle window in our basement as he
caught the hail that fell from the bruised heavens in a bucket from the garage.
When he came back inside we’d all sit there and eat bowls of hail.
And the next day at school all the kids would brag about how our screen doors were yanked off in the wind, and it seemed so greedy to me at the time.
I was terrified of nights like that. I hid under my bed a lot, like our dog, and cried at thunder
But in those moments in the basement when the storm started,
I could hold hail in my hands, salty and melting in my tiny palms.
from my byu creative writing class, 2014