When the tornado touches down, my father is still in the field.
He gathers gloves and aluminum bats
into a mesh bag between third base
and home. There is a sport to caring for what small things can’t
matter in the moment, to climb through the wind collecting
what is forgotten when the clouds cave-in. A schoolroom
full of boys is shaken and emptied into the stirring grasp
of branches the gusts have not yet broken.
With both hands over my head, crouching in the dark,
I am dragged by the bill of my cap up into the atmosphere.
My father is below. His arms full of baseballs, a pair of cleats.
I spiral above the batter’s box, finding him between debris.
Those we love have an entire history
of preparing for the storm. It is easy to forget
what caution precedes us after we are culled into the cyclone.
There are bay windows that will not receive the blunt end
of the bat bundled into the bag. No baseball tears
through the diner’s roof, no coffee pot chipped.
Somehow there is comfort in knowing so much remains
remarkably unaffected though terror may find us.