Black Laughter

Genevieve Taggard

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Harsh, unuttered thunder
Stood like a stone wall
Above the marsh's silver line.
Crooked cranes, white as lightning–
Flattened for an instant, flashing from the cloud–
Came driving toward us; toward us fell
The long lines of the shade-laden trees,
Soundless slanting thunder:
And the snail-like hills
Dragged nearer
The marsh's slime.

Borne down so
By sullen immensities,
Two caught children we stood,
Waiting the flash, the oblique arm of the parent,
Waiting for speech from the jowl
Of the irritated horizon....

Our love began
Between flash and crash,–
Terror seen and terror heard.
See what a cripple our love is!
It is sullen; sometimes it makes walls of black laughter;
It is fond of words, fond of thick vowels,
It mimics thunder.
Between us it limps:
We wait for it, when we must, faces averted.

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