Heat Storms

It’s the kind of evening we call electric, though faced with such power, the meaning of our words begins to drift from the sky like the first soft spats of a storm. I’m paused for rest tonight in a valley south of Nashville, eyeing the silence of heat storms as they strike up somewhere far away from here. In sharp flashes, the sky becomes a shock blue the color of daylight. Scaly cirrus clouds like fishbones splayed against the surface of a still water shatter the humid air.

Driving north into town, the clouds begin to separate, and dark patches of night give rise out of the wind. As the highway lanes split before me, I remember driving into Georgia two Christmases ago, the roads suddenly turning to ice as fractured as the sky on this night. Feeling the asphalt give way to ice, my tires gave way to the careening, my body and the weight of the car together passing in slow motion, freeform, across lane after lane of traffic.

At home, at rest, the clouds are still bursting electric, purple fires and jagged cliff-like shapes in the sky. The first drops are falling, transforming the roads, the sounds, the passage of headlights. And only now is it appropriate to think of all the different energies and weathers a body might waver through before arriving into the other side of night.