Microfiction challenge #9: Rainbow

When I picked this image I was obviously hoping to wring a few happy endings out eventual series. Mine ended last week, but it may bring a little cheer to someone else’s story. The theme is:

After the storm

Archip_Iwanowitsch_Kuindshi_009

Please post the link to your story in the comments before next Thursday.

Aftermath

These short poems were all written on the same day, inspired by  different twitter prompts, which produced nevertheless a common theme. The best illustration for them is this Nussbaum which has haunted my thoughts since I discovered it the other day.

Felix Nussbaum: Orgelmann

 

There are devils in the dust,

They get in our eyes,

Blind us to the beauty of life.

Perhaps a downpour of tears will lay them,

Perhaps a torrent of blood.

 

I am afraid for humanity,

When its soul is rotted black,

Afraid that blood will not suffice,

To quench the madness.

 

Chasing an illusive dream,

Butterfly flitting between the trees,

Always the other side of the sunset,

Always tomorrow.

Sand slips slowly between fingers.

Dust drifts.

 

Tide rises,

Spills across the sand,

A momentary glitter between waves.

Cool water washes the pain,

A little at a time,

Out to sea.

A windy day

Gulls2

What does he hear, the dog,

In the wild wind’s whispering?

The cry of the gulls,

Or the cry of the dead?

Does he hear the sirens’ scream,

Police whistles, the tyres squeal?

Or the anger and fear,

La peur au ventre?

What does he taste in the wind?

The heavy salt rolled in from the sea,

The dunes breaking on the shore,

The pines?

Or is it the bloody rage,

The incomprehensible hatred,

Exuded by men,

The makes him want to run, eyes rolling,

Far from the stink of oil and blood and the distant sea,

And hide?

Aftermath

Storm breaks, washes clean, clearing sticky heat.
Parched earth drinks, closing cracks,
And green appears among the dead stalks.
A cool, ocean breeze
Chases the desert wind,
And we breathe, move without sweating,
Feel the prickle of sunlight on the skin without wincing.
Birds sing again, fearlessly,
Leaves flutter in the breeze,
And shadows lie cool and deep, not full of dust and dry death.
Lean cats appear soundlessly from nowhere, and drink,
Then stretch and sleep in the shade.
We sigh in the aftermath of the struggle
To gather and hold our thoughts,
To keep the skin from clinging to the chair,
In airless rooms full of sleep
And a thick, buzzing muddle of irritation.

In the aftermath, I squint at the bright, boundless sky,
And the pale clouds that trail in the storm’s wake,
And wonder how close we came.
Each time that the sun bakes dry,
Warping rail tracks and loosening bolts,
When the mountainous clouds spill oceans over the land,
Swelling rivers and uprooting trees,
It escapes, that concealed part of humanity that fears and is humbled.
When the lightning strikes again and again,
And floodwaters carry away
The parched debris of the searing sun
And our temperate complacency,
I wonder how much, how little more it would take,
Before we surrendered
And laid down our arms.