Lightning - the bolt that cracked open
our graceful willow tree with power
to transform it into fuel for campfires.
Sudden sounds - the thunderclap
after the lightning, firecrackers
shooing geese off the neighbor's lawn,
popping balloons, a phone call in the night.
Fire - in the children's ward so long ago
I saw a little boy's charred skin.
Burning leaves in ditches, infernos
that smell like childhood.
Flames haunted my dreams -
dreams of saving
my little brother and sister
as they rolled towards the orange heat.
Wasting time - always in a rush
to accomplish something, leave something behind
with the prescient knowledge
of life's brevity and its immutable end.
I fear - my children making the same
mistakes their parents made,
and I would live in a fiery thundercloud
and be struck by lightning
if I could keep that from happening.