With every storm I am six again: thin panic
against a breaking sky.
I unplug everything from the walls,
bury myself in the bed as thunder cracks
at rooftops, rattles windows.
Lightning is never beautiful
nor fascinating; I cower from a sky
I do not control.
My father once told me,
You cannot stop a hurricane.
But how I tried with my mother:
I could stop trees from snapping,
lightning from striking.
But when her front blew in, I was always
a jangle of downed wires and flooded streets.
All thunder tolls for me,
small and running barefoot
down the hall toward any open door.
Katherine Bode-Lang was born and raised in western Michigan. She is the 2014 winner of The American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize; The Reformation will be published this fall. Her chapbook, Spring Melt (Seven Kitchens Press), placed second in the 2008 Keystone Chapbook Contest and earned the New England Poetry Club’s Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. She has published in numerous journals, including The American Poetry Review, The Mid-American Review, Beloit, The Cincinnati Review, and Subtropics. Katherine earned her MFA in poetry at Penn State University, where she is now an IT Trainer in the Office of Research Protections. She lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, Andrew.