The Mask of Four
Indistinguishable Thunderstorms


Ray A. Young Bear

It is the thunderstorm
                                          at first
that begins speaking
                      from an easterly direction
We listen to its vociferous
voice and fall asleep

This weather doesn't care
                                          to know itself
our inner physical journals

We conclude icy rain is no different
                      than wet branch-breaking
snow and the summer deluge
                                          that stretches
toward autumn combines all into one
                       haunting answer

that of a wintry inevitability
                                          glazed ice
over the terrain

Before awakening we hear clouds
that quietly explode
                      from within
Watery moonlit fragments hit
                                          the roof
                      saying: in the case of anger
fist-sized hail would splinter

The woodlands horizon
is therefore portrayed as a jagged
                      lavender line
and encircled in yellow
is the sun
                      reducing humankind
to spherical dimensions
known the presence
of duality

that Black Hummingbirds
are saviors as well as

Grandmother Earth
sits with her bare razor-nicked
back towards you
                                          the observer
the would-be infringer
                      the one who taps out
salvation messages with a silver
surgical instrument

Her daughter's precious son
                      she recognizes
but the blood-letting is deceptive
What was supposed
                                          to be seasonal
self-purification appears through
as a protoplasmic thorn
carved with indecipherable

We swear nothing is apocalyptic
while garish beacons from
                      the tribal gaming complex
create apparitions
in the sky

Balanced on top a floating mass
                      of ourselves
under the guidance of an ochre
word-collector in a tight
flannel shirt
                      hole-ridden jeans
and Presbyterian church-donated
we cradle fine shovels
that are designed to slice
                      the earth
leaving behind rectangular-
                      shaped markings
of a former industrious

© 1997 Ray A. Young Bear

Reprinted from Witness, XI(2), 137-8, 1997.

Return to the Ray A. Young Bear website