Lightning – Kadeem Beresford-James

Like lightning striking,

lightning struck my temple

and struck those within

like lightning

but struck none down,

instead energising.


Energising with fitful twitches

shedding paint to bare dark metamorphic rock

shot through with lilac veins.


My temple toppled and hit another

marble temple but

nothing broke and no-one died.


Those within my temple ran,

but never left,

with their teeth chattering

like novelty chattering teeth,

and spoke truths at the speed of

chattering teeth.


For days they spoke in tongues they understood

and the other toppled temple understood

and their voices made salty-sweet music

for days.


The second temple held the

bulk of my temple with the ease of

evening stars shining

from the eve until the bright morning.


Still they chattered, still they sang

into the day

and my temple’s lilac veins

crept like feverish ivy into the marble

and forced surrender to

effortless connection during the chorus.


The temples realigned as

shared veins shared blood

with no blood shed between their inhabitants

and the sky exploded into a

technicolour pinwheel strobe light

flashing with the intensity of a child’s dream

sharp enough to slice clouds

releasing mist and water in a

ribbon turned stream turned lake turned ocean turned flood turned tsunami.


The flow dragged our temple upright

and then lightning struck again.


My temple fell; landed unharmed.

The other temple stood, bleeding blue

at the sides. What was lilac turned green.



The water stopped.


Chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter,

chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter

from inside my temple

inside the other temple.


The ground shook.

Lightning struck again.


is bad with names, good with details, and enjoys a good drink. Previous editor of Roehampton Writing Society’s Anthology 2012 and co-founder of Talking to Strangers.

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