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