The first of December–instead of snow
caramel-colored leaves blow like murmurations of starlings
trilling above driveways, sidewalks,
bits of mortar fly from brick houses.
In Oklahoma nothing remains hidden for long–
everything is at the mercy of the wind.
Mountain poor, this land where Northwest
and Gulf Streams collide, where summer days
can turn dark in a moment, here the highest wind speed
on earth was recorded–318 miles per hour in 1999,
long after the Joads loaded their wagon
traveling past rattling windows through dust to gold.
My fifteen-year-old dog and I teeter
towards home with no desire but
deliverance from this bone-clattering dance.
Tomorrow I’ll pick through my yard,
find bits of my neighbor’s life–
receipts for motor oil, McDonald’s,
report cards, tattered love poems,
labels from their private poisons,
Allegra, Wellbutrin, Lipitor,
and I’ll recognize myself in the wind–
to outrun, natural
and fierce as the God
who sends us.