The strange beast of the night
has retreated, hackberry down,
no more damage than that
and the echoing tinnitus you woke with,
b flat, constant, dull.
The wind’s wild paw—
which took out a city west of here—
left the fence intact. Small favor.
Elsewhere, children are dead.
The storm, sure. The anguished shooter.
Pockets of silence everywhere,
in the aftermath. You calculate:
chainsaw, chipper, enough mulch
to cover the peonies, the lilacs,
the hydrangea and rose of Sharon
sure to follow.
Paula J. Lambert has published several collections of poetry including The Ghost of Every Feathered Thing (FutureCycle 2022) and How to See the World (Bottom Dog 2020). Awarded PEN America’s L’Engle-Rahman Prize for Mentorship and two Ohio Arts Council grants, she is also a visual artist, small-press publisher, and nascent literary translator.