Ann Keiffer

Dry Lightning

September night sky eerie with malevolence.
Outside, a sudden, soundless boom of brightness.
We interrupt our television program to bring
ourselves this rare experience of California weather.
From the balcony we watch tasers of lightning
zap down on the mountain tops across the valley—
three-armed arcs, one, two, more, ripping up the sky.
Though not a drop of rain is falling, we count from
the moment of the flash, waiting for the thunder
clap, as we did in the sultry thunderstorm-summers
of our Ohio youth …
trying to gauge the distance of the lightning strikes.
But this is a storm with neither wet nor audio.
No ka- or –boom we surmise can only mean
the lightning is a far and harmless distance away.
Another sudden no-sound, crackling blast…
a brush fire leaps to life, racing bright orange
along the black backbone of the ridge. In the paper
the next morning we read “dry lightning” struck
ground 60 times, igniting six fires on open lands.
A silent storm wields its own kind of fire and fury.

Ann Keiffer
September, 2011

Photo Credit: “Chain Lightning”


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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