Alexandra van de Kamp

Issue #
October 3, 2017

The Freedom of Lightning

I’ve watched lightning dangle
its bright dinner fork over my life—
a swaggering hunger to that
loosely hinged incandescence. How easily
the night became a dinner table
for a multitude of appetites
and my life felt suddenly
so ready to be sliced into.

As far as I know, no one’s arms
have ever hugged a lightning bolt’s
disco jolt, its swerving,
jagged glint. What a jittery
blur of a body, what a strobe-lit
disaster flick with no film editor,
what a gyrating John Travolta!

Give me the random death toll
of any one-billion-voltage
flash. The carefree, drunken author
each bolt is. Steeple, tree, jogger
all possible characters
in the nano-second plot. To write
so recklessly with no fear of consequence.

My knees cough and whisper,
a cartilage-to-cartilage conversation.
Lightning is free of flesh’s
intricate pulleys and levers. The body
a kind of sighing abacus
counting and counting its grievances.

Oh, to be a manic
comedy, all Katharine Hepburnesque,
with a roving punch line,
radiating heat five times
hotter than the surface
of the sun, to be sheer
and unfettered,
unapologetic, luminous.

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