After Tornado Warnings
Rain, banshee winds, stuttering lightening
slashed the sky all night. An hour ago,
all the drama stopped. Disasters slunk home
not having broken a single window.
When I went to take out the trash just now,
the sky was smooth and rich as an altar cloth,
the air warm, the starts high, bright, vivid
and a full moon stood above my building
white and strong as your hair, my love,
solid as your word, broad and lovely as your back.
And I stood on my steps looking up, wondering
that after all the lashing, high winds, wails of my decades
and after, really, accomplishing so little,
I was given you.
All or None
— for Carolyn Pool
Integrity was never so buoyant
the hand of giving—and of fairness—
never so light, so angled in a joyful
invitation to dance
as with you,
It wasn’t only in the swirled yellows, greens,
and ochres of your paintings—the African heat
and mysteries of your missionary childhood
that you gave your all, drenched
everyone in your vision.
It was all or nothing with you
in your cooking, your art classes, even
in your day job (the writers you edited
felt they’d been knighted), just as
you gave freely to your children—two
birthed, two adopted. When your mother
invited to visit each summer “just the two
natural ones,” You said, “They’re all
my children. Invite them all or none. “
you loved like the equatorial sun:
Rays of joy refusing
to leave anyone in shadow.
Naomi Thiers grew up in California and Pittsburgh, but her chosen home is Washington-DC/Northern Virginia. She is the author of three poetry collections: Only The Raw Hands Are Heaven (WWPH), In Yolo County, and She Was a Cathedral (both Finishing Line Press.) Her poems, fiction, and essays have been published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review, Grist, Sojourners, and other magazines. Former poetry editor of Phoebe, she works as an editor for Educational Leadership magazine and lives in a condo on the banks of Four Mile Run in Arlington, Virginia.