The Storm on All Hallows’ Eve

Jared Povanda

Matilde shuts her eyes to spite falling dust,
rain spearing holes through the roof, and her wife
is up there alone in the dark with a hammer and new boards,
lightning a petticoat wolf-spangled with hunger.

Next door, Gertz finishes a three-way call with his husband’s
care team. His husband, once blue cornflower bright
is a fish mouth, a school of dying veins.
His husband, breathing now like a dry breeze
stomped through a funnel.
Nothing will be okay ever again,
and when Gertz looks outside to
find kinship with the galumphs of a shattered sky
he spies his neighbor on the roof
with someone else, someone unfamiliar, someone tall.

Spots pulse in front of Esmerelda’s eyes.
She hammers red rusting nails into wet depressions,
hands rigor-raw
against miles of black shingles,
the world born unto queasy undulation.
She turns her wind-smashed face toward
the storm, and there’s Gertz staring
at her from far below. She stares back.
He looks haunted. He looks like he wants
to tear through the window with his teeth.
He points with a shaking finger,
eyes like silver milk. Points at her.

Behind her.

Matilde, downstairs, hands clasped, looks up
and up and up—
She screams for her wife, the sound a crow cry,
injured bear.
She realizes what Gertz realized months ago:
Something is wrong. Something is wrong.
Too late, Something is wrong.

Jared Povanda is a writer, poet, and freelance editor from upstate New York. He has been nominated multiple times for Best of the Net and Best Microfiction, and his work has been published in numerous literary journals including Wigleaf, The Citron Review, and Fractured Literary. You can find him online @JaredPovanda,, and in the Poets & Writers Directory.