I could drink the thunder in
some evenings,  let the roaring
of it all put a rumble in my chest—
holler out, and be heard.

Yet I lack the grace that should be
winding through my veins by way
of my great-grandmother: a woman
who was not once, but twice,
slapped down by strikes of lightning.

She was not held down, though; no,
not this woman who was made of gods,
and held their power on the very tip
of her tongue. She could spit the ugliness
of this world out like a wad of snuff
and carry on, unhindered by any of it.

Not even the sky, with all of its glory
and ill intent combined, could take
a thing from Mrs. Veatrice Guttery,
the woman who swallowed lightning
and walked on, as if it was natural.

Originally published by Up the Staircase Quarterly – February 2015
Photo: “Old Lady with Black Eye” by Ernest Williamson III



    1. Thank ya kindly, but I’ll never have the light in me that she had. I can only throw words at that sort of brilliance. 🙂 I appreciate your thoughts, though, and thanks for sharing!

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