Branches thwack the pocked metal roof. My car windows are smashed, and I sweep shards from the seat before sitting behind the wheel. Boots crunch pedals. A warning hums, and I watch, dazed, as neighbors rush to close doors and cover cars with mattresses as the hail returns.
Two weeks later, we walk along the river with hands clasped, fingers held together like mittens. We are not cold, we are comfort. I always forget my sunglasses, and you always bring an extra pair, a ridiculous pair. Today, a red and black checkered frame, clunky readers that you position on the bridge of my nose, above my ears. They wobble as you kiss my cheek.
The weather is one shitstorm after another. Hail, tornado, extreme heat, extreme wind. There was something called a firewhirl forty miles from Cincinnati. But the skies are perfect now; the light is more flattering than before, a consolation. Nature has eliminated the need for filters.
We watch the river water waver as though indecisive, and you place your hand on my ass, which suffered a few small cuts from the glass bits in my car.
We watch until the horizon line blurs, the clouds disperse, the cottony stuff stretches as though on a loom. We point out fences that fell and warped wood, but our flaws fade more with each pulse.
I place the sunglasses on your head, long after the sun, and search for my reflection when you look down. You’ll tell me that the cuts form a polygon, complete with sharp corners. You’ll call it phenomenal, a tattoo from the storm, and I’ll feel your hand trace the shape. I won’t need to see.
Jen Knox holds an MFA from Bennington College. She directs Gemini Ink’s Writers in Communities program and works as a freelance writing coach in San Antonio. Some of Jen’s short fiction appears in Adirondack Review, Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row, Chicago Quarterly Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Gargoyle Magazine, Istanbul Review, Room Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post.www.jenknox.com