Tornado Drill

By Dave Malone

Beneath our desks, knees angle 
and tower like cricket legs.

Dust bits float, join, break away
above our sneakers. We till

the linoleum with gooey fingertips
from bottled glue or the remains

of Mrs. Anderson’s no-bake cookies—
until she booms, “Quiet,” and invites

the big silence. Inside this empty,
we still smell the heated cookies,

the Elmer’s fumes giving us the dizzies.
It is a low hum at first—

like an evening tractor laboring
several farms over—then a roar

as the sky paints the classroom
windows cocoa. Some of us

scrape wings together and squeak;
others cry—I yearn to be brown.


Dave Malone has contributed poems to such journals as San Pedro River Review, Plainsongs, and Front Range Review. His most recent book is You Know the Ones (Golden Antelope Press, 2017). A master’s graduate of Indiana State University, Dave lives in West Plains, Missouri, and hosts the weekly Friday Poems series on his website.


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