On the Last Day of Lightning Awareness Month – Erik France

Two scrawny men push a fat man
in a wheel chair trailing an oxygen
canister, starting to cross Woodward Avenue
trying to outrace the encroaching storm.
Garbage shrieks in every direction,
splashing like shattered boiled-over snow
globes, titanic, emptying contents skyward,
sideways. Beat up cars flash what’s left of brake
lights, pull over, careen up the avenue.
A woman in another wheelchair, motorized,
scoots by an abandoned church and driving right
by her, I feel the human need to help: but what
would I say? Fling yourself into my car? Ditch
your little wheels? I keep going, keep trying
to meet a carless, bankrupt friend, a mile more.
How can he move himself and his dog out
of Detroit without wheels? In any kind of
weather? The first visible lightning skewers
a store front hardly beyond spitting distance.
Instant crack of thunder. Black clouds churn,
an enormous lava lamp. Miraculously, four
wheels keep turning even though I can no
longer see anything or anybody and am
finally as disabled and blind as everyone
else, lurching my way to the rendezvous.


About the Author: Originally from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Erik Donald France has also resided in Chicago, St. Paul, Durham, Chapel Hill, London, Philadelphia, Newport News and Detroit. Some of France’s previous work has been published in RiversEdge, Tattoo Highway, Southern Gothic, Parting Gifts and Pearl. He is currently an Assistant Director of Library Services at a community college in Fort Worth.

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