CONVERSATIONAL

by Floyce Alexander

I could say little happens here.
Snow melts, ice forms.
Tornados seldom follow
Though cold descends, heat rises
Whirring toward funnel shape.
I saw one in Wellington, Kansas,
Far off. Sunflowers kneeled
To touch the earth
I walked, a child.
Next door the widow Yehle
Calmed my mother’s fears.
My father heard nothing
In the Boeing plant in Wichita
Those years the war was on.

Weathermen say a tornado
Blew through last summer.
A branch thick as a tree
Fell between houses, ours
And the neighbor’s,
Whose tree it was.
Huddling with our cats
In the basement.
My love saying Hail Marys,
When I heard the crack
I said, There goes the roof.
I’ve lived here so long
I sound like someone
Who never leaves the house.

Nothing like that happens here,
Friends say who’ve never left.
Trees uprooted down the streets.
They try to set us straight:
That was no tornado,
Just wind, nothing touched down.
Snow is forecast for May Day.
A neighbor said he saw it snow
On the Fourth of July:
You could keep going north.
Forget it, Jack,
Were not in Kansas anymore.
Nor are we in the city
Wishing to be in the country.