Monday, May 7, 2012

Tornado Fantasies

I used to wish for a cyclone
to come barreling down the alley
and hit this house, knock it roofless,
suck all the innards out,
leave it empty as an eggshell,
or take the whole thing
cleanly like a loaf
lifted off the pantry shelf –
not splintered, blown to bits
with pieces of belongings
(a broken skate tangled in cedar branches,
as if the tree had caught that boiling cloud
by its heel when it tried to make a fast getaway,
or a shirt hung on a nearby shrub,
waving to me like an old friend
hardly recognized from aging.)
No, not a sloppy job with mementos
left about for the heart to ache over,
but a clean sweep.

I'm not sure I want that anymore.
The years have taught me
that even without this burden of belongings,
I would still stoop from habit.
My life has left its mark
and is not the accumulation of what I've kept.

Written April, 1978. Previously published in the Trinity Review, 1980 (27 lines, 162 words)


  1. Lillian, wonderful to see you posting. This poem resonates with is a series of purgings of all we accumulate. I like your lines "I would still stoop from habit. My life has left its mark". That's how I feel, too.

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  2. Lillian, this is such beautiful writing and makes a profound statement, especially with its closing lines. It was wonderful to see your comment on my site, I raced over here but see you are not posting these days. Your writing is ASTOUNDINGLY GOOD, kiddo. Hope you get back to it. We miss your clear and unique voice.

  3. Thank you Sherry, I have been writing (not as much the last 4-6 months as I have said, mostly rewriting , prepping material to send off.) I want to share, but the way a lot of publications define previously unpublished, it means everything I post online is unacceptable for publishing!! Once or twice a week I try to spend time online reading and commenting, but i don't get to every week. I have so little time to write that it has been only once a month online recently. I always enjoy reading your blog even if I don't have time to reply. You are always an inspiration.