A searing wind. A trembling leaf
that whispers a destruction psalm.
A roaring like a distant train,
the stealthy footfall of a thief,
the stirring of a weathervane,
a flake of ash falls on your palm.

You saw it on the news: the palms
in silhouette, with upraised leaves
like hands that prayed, but all in vain.
The flames spelled out destruction psalms
across the hills. They ran like thieves
in scarlet, fast as midnight trains.

He put on cursing like a garment,
let it soak into his body like water
and into his bones like oil

—Psalm 109

Kay, later in life, took on cursing
with a vehemence I hadn’t seen before,
using language as if an exclamation point.
If you didn’t figure out by tone or rhythm
this was something she felt strongly about,
she’d swear, this woman who had used
her back so many times when words failed,
turning and walking away, letting you feel
her abandonment, the lack of excitement
she filled a room with, even if overbearing,
opinionated, slightly judgmental, not in
the way you lived, because she was hardly
one to judge that, but in the essence of
your thought. If it was not a vehicle that
could carry you down the road in style,
she had no time for it. She was always
a little ahead, not by much, but enough
to lack patience. And she was always too
ready to party, so it was easy to dismiss
her intentions. She put on cursing like a
garment when she could no longer stand,
pivot on her heel, and walk out the door.