The forecast predicts rain

and shifting wind.

We remember past thunder

and gale-force wind

wrenching stop signs

into hulas and flipping both

cars and weathermen’s

umbrellas inside out,

so, we plan ahead

buying sugar, a hammer,

and a sack of nails.


But we know the weather’s not much

more than puff and brag,

something we photograph

and pause to examine

later while drinking wine

or watching from someone’s

screened porch and smiling

when children hunch

under flash.


Real devastation

breaks every promise,

leaves us bleeding.

It is frightening

to hear instinct squeal

or screech warnings,

or remember a sobbing

uncle slowly eaten alive. 

Most of us just can’t sleep

knowing what lies ahead. 

Maybe God is our excuse

not to think of such

excess or potential.




The world smacks

hungry lips

and leaves white-haired fleas

screaming for mercy.

We guzzle, sip, tipple

and boost, nibble

hard cheese and gather

at night to tell a story.

Usually, it’s the one about rainy weather,

how it wrenched apart

the world, but we nailed it back

in place, one shingle at a time.

John Cullen‘s work has appeared recently in American Journal of Poetry and North Dakota Quarterly.