Tornado Warning

By Laura Johnson

Covenanted weather, a
promise: no twisters at two 
rivers convergence — broken, 
betrayed wisdom at the red
farrowing barn, now collapsed.

I sat on a stack of barn
wood that hot June afternoon
muggy but no mosquitos.

Purple air dissipated,
drizzle stayed behind dripping 
down silos, dampening spirits,
cornfields     soybeans     piglets.

We lost grandpa’s chicken coop.

Rebuilding felt easier now 
that trust had fled and left us,
leaving no reparations.

We had no other place so 
we pulled nails straight, reinforced 
walls, we knew we must survive. 


Laura Johnson is an emerging poet and writer in Eastern Iowa, a founding co-editor of the literary journal Backchannels. She is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans. She is a graduate (BA, MA) of the University of Iowa. Laura is the facilitator for two community writing workshops, as well as a prize-winning slam poet. Her work has appeared in Thimble Literary Magazine, Prompt Press, High Shelf Press, and The Chestnut Review, among others. You can find her on Instagram.

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