During the Recent Thunder & Lightning

by Maurice Riordan

I

There was the prandial-comfort of entertaining a few old cronies.
The assurance, when the power went, each friend round the table
was entertaining thoughts as infantile and forbidden as my own.
One friend is convinced we’re players in a computer game.
She and I argued the toss. Now happily I entertain the thought
I came into existence on or about Easter Sunday 1983.
Fully formed and complete with a plausible thirty-year back story.
It includes the smell of carbide, a rare blood type, a broken heart.

II

There was the amnion-comfort of lying in bed as the storm peaked.
The wish to watch a physical disaster unfolding in real time.
To witness the spectacle of ball-lightning entering an office tower
or a plane exploding from the yellow cloud above the sports ground.
The incipient desire, then, for catastrophes on a truly grand scale.
The sort that will annihilate whole populations overnight.
That the world might be simple and countable again. A village.
Or a handful of villages at peace with or killing each other.

III

There’s the post-coital comfort of lying in bed after the storm.
The consolation my habitual self-image is unknown in the mirror.
That solemn eidolon I’ve fabricated from incense and candle oil.
I should mention I’m lying beside one awaiting the rapture.
Who’s intoning the prayer. For only a small number are chosen.
Unless none are chosen. And tonight she is watching for a sign.
Something amid the turmoil of clouds, the ripped moonlight.
Just a small tear in the heavens as the storm clears will suffice.