My first memory of lightning is with my father. I smell his dark skin, hear his deep, cartoony voice. He’s gone now and I’m an adult in my apartment in the dark. Electricity forks through the atmosphere. A heavy, wet grayishness blankets Portland. This is the storm sweeping northward, having visited my fiancée in Corvallis. She loves it. I fear it. I ran to my car so I would not be stricken. What do I fear? A lot. Loneliness, right now. Debt, most days. Hunger, middle of the month, before the second paycheck. There is this one good memory of my father, twenty-something years previous to this night. Lightning flashes. He laughs. I fear losing my mother. My friends. And, most days, rolling out of bed. But I can’t live in this head forever. Oh. I think the storm’s passed.
Late, Still Awake