Kyla Houbolt
The Storm Like a Feral and Hungry Creature Appreciates a Ritual Meal
It's interesting and strange being under a tornado watch. Not a warning so the red bar on the weather page is not as serious as it could be but it is pretty alarming to see if you just think the wind is high. It tells us to watch for it, the tornado that may or may not come, sometime in the next twelve hours. Well, that gets boring even though the wind stirs up all the stagnancy and it's fun outside dodging branches and birds blown off their paths in the yellow purple sky. When the wind stops for a moment it is suddenly very hot and the air is heavy with moisture which feels like some mysterious statement of purpose known only to the elements. Lately the elements like to do this, to threaten us, keep us on our toes, possibly because we have failed to respect them properly in the past. I decide to go outside and attempt some form of propitiation. I give things to the wind, gifts of feathers and hats, to begin with, then later on letters including bills that must be paid or else, for the wind to blow away so they are lost forever, and then I give it something lighted on fire and let the wind decide whether to make the fire grow or blow it out. Blow the man down! went the old song we used to sing, and so while giving fire to the wind I start to sing blow the man down blow the man down and dance, flinging one hat after another into the fire, the fire that is growing now, as I feed it bills and ledgers hats and more hats, I wonder if the wind would appreciate an artificial accelerant such as gasoline, no, that would be too risky, the wind might take offense and blow even harder but now I think it has become fascinated by the flames and is settling down around them, almost purring like a cat happy with its dinner of ledger paper, bills, and hats. I sing more quietly, blow the man down blow ye winds of morning blow blow blow, almost like a lullabye as the wind nestles closer to the fire which is beginning itself to slumber, that the small rain down may rain, gently now, and soon it is night and all elements and humans also can find what peace nature allows us, if we wish to.

Kyla Houbolt lives and writes in Gastonia, NC. She has work in Burning House Press/The Arsonista, Black Bough Poetry, Neologism, and elsewhere. She was honored to be included in Cuvaj Se's Border Poetry Protest Project with two of her poems read and recorded at the US/Mexico border. You can find all her current published work at Follow Kyla on Twitter @luaz_poet.