Uncle Thunder

brown and beige wooden barn surrounded with brown grasses under thunderclouds
We’re all ten years old
When Old Man Tuolumne Storm,
Strolls through the campground.
He’s that fat uncle
Who spits when he speaks,
Cracks his knuckles,
Slaps his hammy thighs and
When you don’t expect it.
He flexes arms,
Bulgy as fish bellies
And white
With blue-black tattoos.
His cloud-fingers poke
The sky’s ribs
Too hard for it to tickle.
Besides, he’s the only one laughing,
Laughing loud,
At his own jokes.
Feet shifting
       Like we must pee in the next five seconds
                                          Or die,
All us ten-year-olds
                Jump and shout
                           At his lightning tricks.
Though we’re more than just glad
                          He’ll be gone
                                  Before dinner.

Poem by Robert Walton

Robert Walton retired from teaching after thirty-six years of service at San Lorenzo Middle School. He is a lifelong rock climber and mountaineer with ascents in Yosemite and Pinnacles National Park. He’s an experienced writer with published works including historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy and poetry. Walton’s novel Dawn Drums won the 2014 New Mexico Book Awards Tony Hillerman Prize for best fiction. “Sockdologizer”, his dramatization of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, won the Saturday Writers 2020 Everything Children contest. Most recently, his “Mansa Musa’s Wisdom” was published in Cricket Media’s February, 2022 issue of Spider magazine .