Thunder Without Rain
That boy at school who sits behind me
and always tries to dip my ponytail in the paint
during art class whenever the teacher isn't looking
has this black cloud hanging over his head
that he doesn't even know is there.
So that's where the grumbling is coming from.
I'd been wondering since I met him in kindergarten.
I could always hear it, low and mean,
like a thunderstorm somewhere over the horizon
busy making tornadoes to tear the roofs off people's houses
and drive straws into telephone poles
like my grandmother says she saw once as a little girl.
The morning after my sixth birthday,
when I wore my new necklace to school,
the Eye of Fate showed me the world in a whole new light.
I could see the trails that people made
as they moved through each other's lives,
and some strange things and creatures -- though oddly
some others disappeared when I wore it.
It only seemed to show things that mattered,
or things that had a Fate, or something like that anyhow.
That was the first time I saw the cloud over his head
and the black look on his pale face
and his blank eyes like the eyes of a dead fish
lying on the ice in the supermarket when nobody wants to buy it.
In art class, I sit facing forward, with that boy behind me,
because I don't want to look at him,
because when I do, sometimes I start to see flickers
like lightning in that overhanging cloud,
and I don't want to see anything by that light, ever.
That thing that hovers over him
isn't the kind of monster I'd want to live with.
Not even the bogeyman makes the hair on my neck
stand up the way it does on a stormy day
when the sky is full of thunder and lightning but no rain.
He's not a nice boy. I don't like him.
The teacher says I am silly and won't let me move
but I know better, and now when I sit down
I pull my ponytail over my shoulder, onto my chest.