Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press, author of seven collections of poems, recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council, and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.
The Final Storm
The day the stars fell, we were looking
at blue sky and losing faith in ourselves.
Our love cracked right in half like a tower
in a cold city that shook the ground
while everyone else panicked.
We spilled into its abyss late into the night.
It was important for us to suffer in our silence.
We wanted something that was us,
that represented us. All we found
were ashes around the drain in the sink.
How did it start? We knew the storm
was coming. The lights dimmed clear
across the country, and a paper ball
that kept on growing floated down sunlit Broadway.
An organ broke, snow fell from within us
out there on the street, where it left too harsh
of a light, including a moon only days from death.
I spent a lot of time praying for you and me,
waiting by the phone for you,
puffed by wind and surrounded by the sea.
All I ever wanted to do was dance
behind the curtain of the big bus
with you, to your heart’s discontent.
At the end of the bus ride, where were we?
I asked God all night to go sliding
down hillsides with me the way the wind
always revels in the final unraveling.
Instead, he gave me a gift, a story of codes,
and the text read: Once upon a time, the boy
who touched your broken heart beside the inlet
made you cry while he slept on your couch.
Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in Connecticut River Review, Five 2 One, Avatar Review, Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, and Whale Road Review. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he works as a freelance writer.