The gustnado was a surprise, coming as it did after a few fine days of Indian summer. Spinning and spinning leaves, twigs, and dirt into a spiral that stretched up and spread out in a thick, harsh swirl, it called the darkening sky down. Huge clouds. Hard, cold rain. Not a month later the ground seemed to explode, booming and banging—frost quakes. Icy groundwater freezing, expanding, pressing at rocks below. The ground popped like gunfire, and the sound boomeranged. Then, after days of gray weather: Thunder sleet. Rain turned to bullets of ice that pinged hard on the windows and clattered on the ground. The sky let loose with thunder and lightning that had no business arriving uninvited and unannounced—summer was long over. It was loud, crazy loud. Tree branches and sidewalk iced up. A strange landscape. Later, of course, came the bombogenesis, a blizzard that buried the state and kept on going. Trees down, power out, snow so high even the plows couldn’t get through. Second night, the wind died down, though it kept on snowing. The world suddenly went quiet. What country was this? What century? And how would it all be remembered? A painting, an opera, an ornament?
icy spheres left behind
frozen apples turn to mush
slip through the crystalline globes—
ghost apples in the orchard