Paul Belz Copyright 2008 Paul Belz
Our faces would have turned dark
if not for the lightning
from cumulo-stratus clouds.
They blocked the sun
and thrust cool rain down on us kids.
We ran through slippery mud
and squishy grass to this concrete shelter
where our parents and neighbors
sheltered hot dogs and sauerkraut from the storm
while uncles and aunts sheltered whitebread buns,
relish, mustard and beer. Us kids splashed inside
just as thunder came and the wind turned chilled.
We all were silent as the storm
pounded the roof like hundreds of drumsticks
on a snaredrum. Rain fell solid
like a slammed door or Niagara Falls.
One brave kid stuck a hand out to feel
and quickly pulled back inside.
Others stood with grownups who wrapped us
silently in their arms. No one talked.
Lightning cracked like fifty tambourines. Suddenly
the rain slowed and thunder rolled away.
Distant lightning flashed silently. We whispered
and stirred as the clouds drifted apart.
Laughter replaced the storm. Grownups released us kids
and we ran out to the dripping slides,
grabbed the muddy baseball gloves and Frisbees.
We started to shout and slide on the grass. We were safe.
We’d found protection, shelter. How I miss them
Mauch Chunk Lake, northern Pennsylvania.