In the diorama’s replica world
Artificial light mimics storm glow
On the stage set of a prairie

Wet sheets slouch on a clothesline
A tornado touches down
On the curved horizon of the backdrop

Still miles away
Debris and wind have not yet
Reached the here and now

Through the unglazed window
Of the makeshift shelter
A lit lamp sits on the sill

Behind it realia in viscous shadow
An ambiguous space where we are asked
To imagine a life is lived

Copyright © 2018 Eric Pankey. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2018.