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Old man watching the storm.

I turn a hundred ways toward a few plain objects which turn from me. Forty-one days of drought, then this. I pull the tarp over the rabbits' cages, roll up windows. My time and the time of objects split. Across the hedgerow my neighbor sits amid the thousand empty flower pots of his garage, amid the hoes and traps, the beer signs and shovels. In his chair, through black light, the body that is and isn't there. I call the sheep in, the dogs home. Old man in his cone of light, his juncture of past and future. Tousled hair in tousled shadow. Is dominates. Until the storm comes. I pass and he waves his slow wave. The animals bark back at the thunder. Against the artifice of my lawn the peonies, even swelled as they are with ants, bend and shake loose. Old man with his hand in the air. He holds it out for the first big drops.

When the second heart attack came, he'd been driving down South Hill Boulevard. Lost on his way to finding the brake with his foot. Steep descent. Wild pulsing of light that thuds to a stop. Three lanes of oncoming traffic crossed and crossing again. Every ambulance in town rushing back into the horizon of events. The hand falls. I try to close the doors on the hayloft. I pull. They fly back.

In one of his beer signs two men in a boat row endlessly around a clock on a lake. They cast and pull up the same bass forever, the bass that comes up and hangs in the sky. Old man takes the storm in his hands, time all around at its perfect stopping place, the big-mouthed fish about to either speak or fly away, or fall finally into the net.
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Author:Winckel, Nancy Van
Publication:Chicago Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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