By Kathryn Petruccelli

June 15, 2020


I try not to give too much power to what some call signs. Sure, when my mother was dying there was that thing with the poem I’d written about lightning, followed by the plane ride I took to her deathbed in the lightning storm – clouds out the window flashing like bad stage direction, the sky rocking the jet with its violent lullaby. And after we got back from the hospital, orphans, we walked through clouds of lightning bugs to my brother’s door. But mostly, I think the meaning isn’t for me to explore. Most days, I think it's less likely a call to action than the Universe nodding along with our lives: yes, this is happening.

I don’t doubt it’s true there are moments when the veil is thinner, when these acknowledgments from the Universe can more easily slip into the pocket of our daily routines—showing up as a mental flash so that we believe we saw a face we know from another city, or one long dead, as we march unnamed through the crowd crossing at the light.

I walk the streets like I’ve never before noticed the sky for just how vibrant it is, how ready to explode. This space I occupy is a burden, and a honing, a dulling down, and also a crack. “You must be electric right now,” my friend says. I smile at one more reference and then my legs give way and, like the lightning that haunts, I go straight to ground.


Kathryn Petruccelli holds an M.A. in teaching English language learners. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Rattle, december, SWWIM, Literary Mama, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and others. She was a finalist for the 2019 Omnidawn Broadside Poetry Prize. More at poetroar.com.


Photo by Mélody P from Unsplash.

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