Black Lightning

You are the embodiment of a good thing coming in a small 
package, barely five feet tall and, let's admit it, feisty as a 
sharecropper's daughter ought to be.

You carry a chip on your shoulder and the knowledge of 
space-time travel in your mind, three degrees in six years 
from MIT, a thousand miles and memories away from

Clinton, Georgia and here you are in space country like the 
Yoruban god, Shango, clenching the lightning bolts in your 
eager, steely fists; if only they had a

colored bathroom in your building; gods should not have to 
walk a mile to pee. They are already suspicious of your 
power even though they are envious of your work ethic.

Wondering where you go from here - you must be smart 
and retain your moral compass. Your boss tells you not to 
be a smart ass but you have melded with the IBM 7094

Computer which occupies half of the ground floor and is 
completely color blind. Tomorrow Night, on a secret cue, 
the cosmos will begin to turn in your direction.

By using a mathematical series we are able to integrate any 
function with FORTRAN on the computer with all 
calculation being performed in milliseconds.

Expanding in all directions, Big-Banging your universe 
until all the gears in your head will have meshed into 
photons of light, you and Shango will create the code

to wrangle a rocket, break and saddle it, lead it around the 
O-ring until it obeys only your whistled commands, even 
though sometimes grabbing the bit in its teeth. 

You name your horse Saturn Five and he will carry three 
men to the moon, return them safely to earth, and finally, 
after many years of service, be sent out to stud in a pasture 

near Huntsville, Alabama. Eventually you and Shango 
loosen your grips on the thunderbolts.  Your contributions 
will gradually sink into the memories of the company 

collective as you retire to the relative obscurity of Lake-of-
the-Woods, Florida, located somewhere between the horse 
country of Ocala and the mouse country of Orlando.

	(First published in Veils - 2020)

Next Poem


Return to Down South Selection