Above Four Corners,
rev the engines
of their summer rainmakers.
East in Colorado,
up from Utah’s deep country,
rashes of electrical impulses
bloom on chaffing skins of water
and air-born ice.
One silver-plated maelstrom sheers
from Sleeping Ute’s igneous brow.
It steams into Utah, anvil raised
to the highest stratum of the day,
bottom, pressed black night.
Between the cell’s chassis
and the ground, grey velvet cloudburst
and lightning forging, breaking €”both €”
bonds hotter than the sun’s face burns.
To the storm’s starboard, Scorpio
surfaces in early twinkle.
Fulmination lights the cloudworks
then tats one billow edge in pearly scallop
as the bulk winks briefly out.
The approaching earthmover’s intermittent
Groan deepens to near constant grumble.
In Arizona, out of hearing’s range,
lightning flakes evening off mountains
in noiseless cracks of light.
A second thunderhead
fires bolts as orange as pumpkins
into the rooted spine of the Carrizos.
Shredding rain, crooked veins
of fire bind both bodies,
filling canyons and arroyos with watery flash.
The frenzy squalls west, lightning intensifying:
Firecrackers going off under a hat.
The Milky Way swells then swirls
into southern lightning chambers
until figuring where storm cloud ends
and star cloud begins
poses riddles too expansive
for the mind’s casual play.
The male rain*, the rain with big shoulders,
muddies boundaries between heaven and earth,
splits an evening hour into tiers of high day
and gradations of disquieted,
*NiÅ‚tsÄ… BikÄ…, Navajo for “male rain”: the rain that falls during summer thunderstorms.
Patricia and her family live in the Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S. She has won many awards for her poetry, essays, and fiction. She is the author of The Pictograph Murders, a mystery set in the area where she lives. Some of her poetry appears in the recently published landmark anthology of Mormon poetry, Fire in the Pasture. An adjunct English professor for Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah, she teaches English composition and also works as a tutor for English. She is founding editor of Wilderness Interface Zone.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.