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
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;
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,
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,
that I can stand,
breathe, that my mouth and lungs
haven’t filled with water
and look around,
the sun glorious.
Luke Stromberg has also published work in Rotary Dial, Victorian Violet Journal, Tower Journal, Shot Glass Journal, Lucid Rhythms, Philadelphia Stories, Think Journal, Mid-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.