Weather Vein

by Jenny Black | December 12, 2023

It’s been weeks since a storm like this
Paper cups are smooth, flammable, and hazardously placed in my hand.
I am drunk at a party and the music is too loud.
It is creeping up my spine
    A static hum that rattles the bones of my inner ear,
Any second now it’s going to happen
    I’m going to make it weird.
Can everyone see
    I’m a lightning rod on the roof?
My hair stands on end

    Are they looking?           Are they laughing?
           Turn my wrist forty-five degrees to the left
                 Tuned in and helpless,
                      My purpose to be struck and never let it show;
                             Listen as my own voice becomes too charged for safety,
                                   No one is safe with me.

  I’m a channel to ground floating unnoticed

                          As I flood with current and currency. So, where do I put it? 

        Quick! Get the pliers
                                       No, the blue ones!
                                                                  Which wire to cut?
                                                                        I am no grey cloud, no inky sky,
                                                              Too small to tame such a force of nature
                                            As it hammers at my sternum, demanding entry
                                       And exit. There is an itch, magnetic urge
                                To hold the source in both hands
                To stick my fingers into the plug socket
       And make you feel, with vibrant force,
How it sets my brain clawing at my skull,
           My skin tight with the strain of containing
                  Such a love for everything that ever was or will be
                        Because I get to feel this now.
I open my mouth and find no words, only a faint crackling:
This body makes for an insufficient vessel, sparking,
If I could only get right to the nervesone synapse to another
You would understand, you would see, and I
                                                                    I wouldn’t keep shocking people.
But then, you’re all too old and I’m still buzzing quietly
           in the corner.
                       What a privilege, a gift, to be this current’s present instrument
                                 As it blows out my every fuse.

Words by Jenny Black. Art by Isabel Otterburn-Milner.