Mother of Cloth

During hurricanes, my body tucked
tightly under blankets and eyes

illuminated by the pale luster
of a plastic nightlight, you drew curly cues

along my spine with your index finger,
patted my back to the beat of rain

pounding on the window. When there’s a storm,
it means they’re bowling in heaven.

Claps of thunder are balls tossed
down the lane. Each flash of lightning

means an angel just got a strike.
We would count the seconds between thunder,

one mississippi, two mississippi, three . . .
and I’d shudder in my sheets, hands clasped in prayer

begging god to hurry up and end the party.
You wrapped my body in cloth,

held my hand until you felt the fingers
loosen and fall. The next time I woke,

I called your name. And you would come.
You always came.

 

Tiana Nobile lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a recipient of a 2017 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, the Lucy Grealy Prize for Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a fellowship fromKundiman. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Tiana is the author of the chapbookThe Spirit of the Staircase (2017), and her poetry has appeared in The CollagistPoetry NorthwestApogeeHyphen Magazine, and the Texas Review, among others.

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