The 2River View 26.3 (Spring 2022)

Amy Speace


A cock and a hen stand
stooped, back

to back, clucking
at pale pebbles

of grain, each
like the bobbing

bird at desktops littered
with legal briefs, piles of

ins, stacks of outs, as the
yellow plastic beaks pick

at pens, paperclips, sharpener.
Back to the birds,

at odds with
the facts. Eating

their fill. Not
seeing each other.

Tornado Warning

In the dark, in a bathtub
at the center of the house,
flashlight, pillows, blankets,
boots, just in case. Sirens
scream. The phone slams
warnings over and over.
We two are alone.
My son sleeps through
the horns, the strap
of his bike helmet
under his nose. Before
his eyes flutter shut,
he asks about the potato
coming, mispronouncing
the storm. I do my best
to make up a song,
shush him to slumber
in my arms, ready to throw my back
against the shards,
my breakwater body.
The dog is somewhere
under a bed. The hail
shoots buckshot at
the glass. Take
shelter in your
safe space, the phone
blinks a warning,
and I think,
here in this bathtub,
awaiting the wind,
I am more
sheltered and safe
than I have been
in a long year
waiting for
my marriage to end.

Amy Speace is a singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Judy Collins, Red Molly, and Memphis Blues Hall of Fame singer Sid Selvidge. Her essays have been published by The American Songwriter, The Blue Rock Literary Review, No Depression Magazine, The New York Times, and Working Mother. She is currently in the MFA Creative Writing program at Spalding University. website

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