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Forecasters never use these words
despite the fulcrums they weigh
of temperature, humidity and wind,
their glitzy screens that rewind Doppler
radar, play off of models.

Each Monday at noon, a siren
blares at the fire station in a small town
on the Oregon coast: tsunami alert
test. The postmaster stops selling stamps.
The librarian looks out her window.
The old lady in the grocery store
stills her cart. Reminders of the flood,
what lurks. Not if, but when.

On city streets we feel the gathering storm
as rocks in our gut. Five days without a shooting,
our expectations turn to the next mix of cop,
pulled-over car, a gun, and a man. Or the youth
with an automatic rifle at a convenience
store, a mosque, the high school, the zoo.
Moons seen not as tides but lunacy.

Some Germans saw how this dark gathered.
Hurricanes of hate. Tornadoes of intolerance.
Fire-shows of lightning. Over my shoulder,
I hear the thunder. Feel it press my knees.
As static in my hair. Pressure changes.
The conspiracy of angst.


Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who knows blizzards well. Her work appears widely in journals, anthologies and in five collections. Her recent chapbook Checkered Mates came out in 2021 from Kelsay Books. Let’s Hear It for the Horses received the third prize in the Poetry Box’s annual chapbook competition and will be available in February 2022. For more poems and news, visit

© 2021, Tricia Knoll

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