Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“Tornado Warning”

Everything in the Universe is Amy Wright’s first full-length poetry collection. She is also the author of five chapbooks and Cracker Sonnets, a handbook of pop-culture Americana in verse, and she serves as both nonfiction editor of Zone 3 Press and coordinator of creative writing at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. Wright is the co-author, with William Wright, of Creeks of the Upper South, a lyric reflection on changing waterways and cultural habitats.

Tornado Warning

A siren insists brusquely for us to “take shelter
immediately,” at which point, cluster flies
flutter to a windowless first floor copy room
where we sip coffee and joke about bomb shelters,
food rations, and someone muses what it would be like,
to—you know—safely, watch a funnel
touch down, which is happening
in the air vent and the next town over,
though no one’s going to chase it.
Doubtless this conversation mirrors a thousand
similarly wasted moments in which no one confesses
how much they hunger and hurt daily, as if a great wind
has already sucked them up from the center, whirled
them into an infinite vacuum of aloneness,
if they can bear to be so very much together
& separate.

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