Storm Over the Salinas Valley
Silver clouds scud off wild ocean waves, roll
above mustard meadow, effacing blue mountains.
Storm front whips lettuce fields as purple sky curdles.
Windmill propellers twirl like a child’s pinwheel.
Buffeted grape vines, splayed against golden slopes,
swing from wooden stakes, wire gallows.
Field workers, masked by bandanas, chop weeds despite
coming squall, hoe endless rows of broccoli, zucchini.
Tense horizon splits, dumps thunder, lightning, finally rain,
answers prayers offered by drought chastened farmers.
Thunderheads float above the gold ridgeline,
menace fence posts and metal gate
with jagged splinters of lightning.
Rabbits and raccoons are invisible,
have taken cover from the soaking
sure to come once heavens open.
Prodigal El Niño drags summer storm ashore
with celestial drama, sprinkles overdue rain
on our sizzling doorstep.
In the gold corridor between storms
I stand on a wooden deck, toast setting sun.
Egrets lift, flap above distant beach
where giant breakers are booming.
Alcohol and atmospheric disturbance
leave me feeling ruffled, unsettled.
El Niño is on a temporary time out.
Inside, contented doggies are snoring.
I don’t know what I want, watch
last light, await coming darkness.