WHEN I SLEEP, I DREAM OF TSUNAMIS by Luke Stromberg

Tsunami by Hokusai
WHEN I SLEEP, I DREAM OF TSUNAMIS

by Luke Stromberg

I’m walking down Main Street when a blue
and strangely beautiful tidal wave rises
in the distance, reaching high over roof tops.

It’s the sound of wind, of water
gathering force
that I hear first,

and I cannot move,
awed by this watery hand
that seems to come from nowhere

as its shadow falls over an afternoon scene:
a meter-maid writing a ticket;
two teenagers smoking cigarettes
in front of a convenience store;
somebody sweeping;
my dead uncle walking his dog.

They all seem to notice at once,
look up, break into a panic.
Cars shriek to a halt, try to turn around.

The hand comes down
on top of them.
Water crashes over buildings,
crushing them to pieces.

A torrent rushes toward me,
taking everything with it:
cars, telephone poles, debris,
what used to be people—

I run, my legs heavy
with the thought
of what’s behind me,

the roar like an army,
a herd of beasts,

and I’m swept up by it all,
carried away,

ditched someplace
I’ve never been, lying
in a puddle
on a deserted street.

Old bicycles, women’s clothing, church pews,
shattered bits of wood
scattered all around me—
but not one person

when I get up, inexplicably dry,
trembling, amazed
that I can stand,
breathe, that my mouth and lungs
haven’t filled with water

and look around,
the sun glorious.


Luke-Stromberg

Luke Stromberg has also published work in Rotary DialVictorian Violet JournalTower JournalShot Glass JournalLucid RhythmsPhiladelphia StoriesThink JournalMid-America Poetry Review, on Ernest Hilbert’s blog E-Verse Radio, and in other venues. His poem “Memorial Day” appears in Issue No. 2 of Cleaver. His work has also been featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer on multiple occasions. He lives in Upper Darby, PA, and works as an adjunct English instructor at Eastern University and West Chester University.

 

Image Credit: “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” 神奈川沖浪裏, 1823 by Katsushika Hokusai on Wikipedia.

Comments are closed.