“A Joyful Day for Chalk and Lightning” by Bob Rich

Lightning struck slowly down the sky at night, like white trails of elated tears running down the sleepy face of time.

It was the night before the wedding, and the moon could finally breathe the oxygen of romance from the ashen city, that empty cave of a town where, for so long, no white effulgent crystals had been suspended like chandeliers of joy from the cave’s darkly unlit ceiling made from rock.

Thunder rumbled from the night sky like a merciful earthquake in the air, like a tremor between two vast emotional tectonic plates in the atmosphere, as if a sweet and slender rift had invisibly rippled between a damp sea of watery grief and a nearby foggy ocean.

That night, the bride and groom, in their separate rooms, each held a warm cup in their hands. For bitter ages, their rusted bronze cups had been filled with flavorless warm sand that blandly mocked their natural thirst; but, this night, their cups of gold were trembling with white liquid fire that refreshed their souls — fire rising from within each of their chalices like cool silken milk.

Soon, the wedding day arrived like a white sun over their lives, alerting the garden’s desiccated trees and collapsed gray-brown plants that the endless sandstorm was now finally over. No more eating bowls of crushed black coal flavored with the stinging juice of lemons. No more walking to a waterless riverbed where no streams flowed, but where fish flapped on the muddy ground aching with desire for foaming white currents to gush over them again with wet and gentle mercy like oxygenated blankets of life.

Wedding bells sounded into the air from the chapel, ringing out from the sanctuary’s high ceiling as if giant teardrops were musically falling into the yearning cups of steel drums made from shining polished silver.

Candles rose like white still-life geysers from bouquets of blue flowers upon the oak’s warm grain in the chapel’s furniture, while, up in the daytime sky, clouds gathered in plush formations like blankets for any weary on-looking souls.

Far away, on the other side of the world, the moon burst into white rippling circles of light, laughing her honeyed laugh, crying easy salty tears that fell and dispersed into sighs of white fireworks above the earth’s cloud-covered nations below. They were: lunar kisses blown to the earth for the new couple; gifts unwrapped in the atmosphere, unseen by anyone there at the other side of the globe in the wedding party but felt by the bride and groom like fistfuls of hot white chalk thrown like soft sweet powdery sugar into the waters of the new duet of their longing hearts.

(for A.)

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