Poetry

Just Before the Storm

By: William Ogden Haynes

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The old couple sits on the front porch drinking coffee, waiting for
the bad weather, wondering how many more storms they will be
able to watch together. From the porch swing they can see the
pampas grass in the yard blowing erratically from side to side
like the tail of a cat trying to decide its mood. The breeze trifles
with the chimes at the end of the porch and they know that soon
the clouds will cruise in with heavy wind and rain. For now, it is
relatively calm, a time to contemplate the foreboding feeling caused
by the impending storm and uncertainty about the future.

As he looks at his wife, he remembers a similar day fifty years ago
when he asked her to marry him. That day they were parked by a
beach lit gray from the low clouds, the sea oats flicking like buggy
whips in the face of an oncoming storm. He recalls her dreamy-eyed
gaze in the back seat of the Buick, lips swollen from kissing, blouse
unbuttoned, brown hair hanging askew over one eye and how her
expression became so serious after he proposed. They talked for hours
about the future they faced, sightless as moles, and the distrust of
dreams that may promise more than they could deliver. And as the first
large raindrops began to splat on the windshield, before they scrambled
into the front seat, they held each other, their grip as tight as a knot.

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