Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Robert Walicki: Storm

It’s 40 degrees, and windy enough
to lift us off the edge 
of the earth, 
and this hospital roof,
 
where we drop the heads 
of metal snakes down stacks,
next to exhaust vents carrying 
the breath of the dying;
 
Cancer, Emphysema, Coronavirus.
After we break through, 
we share the air
 
as the second year lights one up,
tells me how ridiculous this is, 
how it’ll all blow over,
 
as I stare out over the tops 
of buildings,
the plans of homes, 
Pleasant Kingdom Park,
 
and the monkey bars, swing sets 
lifting in the breeze.
Later, I’ll help him build 
Starc walls downstairs,
 
tape seams, run the elephant hose 
above drop ceilings,
temporary duct for the sick, 
ladders, plastic
 
extension cords and air machines 
to charge the negative air
for the Covid-19 
Emergency Testing Stations.
 
You should have seen it, man 
He says, about the killer
rock show from last week. 
That singer, man

was out of control 
and the chicks were everywhere.
I want to tell him, 
there’s more than we’ll ever know
 
we want from this life, 
but he’s too young to breathe
into the void of the real, 
too young to breathe out
 
the smoke from his mouth 
while we watch low clouds
bloom bruises, 
the box truck snaking the hill
 
down the ER sign 
flashing open in neon.
At the edge of the lot, 
the skies are darkening
 
over crested pines, 
the smoke and blurry heat
from Irwin Iron, 
night’s afterglow, fading

into a kind of gleaming 
that breaks me with its beauty.
And suddenly, I’m six again 
the first July

I saw a sky explode 
into a diadem of stars. 
But today, the last Sunday in February
is a storm cloud rolling into thunder,
 
it’s light, flashing our faces 
as we run
laughing, to our cars, our trucks,
 
reaching for doors, 
all that wet pounding,
hoping all of it stops 
before we get home.

Robert Walicki is a poet and registered plumber who works in a Pittsburgh hospital.

Copyright 2020 Robert Walicki

4 comments on “Robert Walicki: Storm

  1. Jose Alcantara
    March 26, 2020

    A wonderful lived poem! I’m glad that, as a plumber, you are probably deemed an essential worker. That way, you don’t have to stay at home, but can be out there experiencing the world and reporting back to us through your real job: being a poet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robert Walicki
      March 27, 2020

      Thanks for your lovely, kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. David Ades
    March 26, 2020

    It’s great to see your work again Robert, vivid and real as always. We need these poems, hard as they are to read…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robert Walicki
      March 27, 2020

      Thanks David

      So nice to hear from you! Hope you are ok in these difficult times

      Liked by 1 person

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