mixes meatloaf in the kitchen.
Her hands are red with beef.
Father and I stand bare feet on yellow linoleum
watching the storm break through a rattling screen door.
drops splatter concrete
sidewalk tumbles over catalpa’s worming roots.
We remark as rain turns to hail and charges
the tin roof of an open, telephone-pole barn.
crunches Keebler’s crackers
with sticky palms, you two should step
away from the door, she says
and off flies the Weber lid.
the maple shivers.
Father and I stand gawking
while mother glazes
the loaf with Heinz.
as she bends, opening
the burgundy oven door—
kittens quiet in mid-mew.
Cattle do not swish tails.
The sovereign catalpa splits in two.
after father cleared the gravel road—
on the cool linoleum, waiting for another sign.