Someone has tacked a paper cutout
of a lightning bolt to the sky.
One of those zigzag cartoons
that Thor likes to chuck at the earth.
No, it doesn’t look like real lightning,
but I wonder how the cartoonist
got it up there, how it’s fastened
to the filmy and fickle sky.
You think it fell from a comet
and somehow stuck into place
through an obscure natural process
science has yet to describe.
But looking through binoculars
I can clearly see that it’s paper
rippling in a stratospheric wind.
We agree it’s not an omen but
perhaps a campaign poster
for a candidate running for
some minor public office
like fence viewer or dog warden.
Other people are looking up.
A woman panics, fears the hand
of God is working against us.
But God doesn’t bother with paper
silhouettes when he can wield
the real thing with deadly effect.
We sip our latte outdoors because
the pandemic still prevails.
The first good thunderstorm
will pulp that phony lightning bolt
in a gust of cosmic laughter
we’ll hear even if asleep.
No one should be worried,
but I wonder who owns a ladder
tall enough to reach all that sky
and whether he’d lend it to me.