The boy flies downhill like a bolt, a thunder flapping in his spokes, while bits of shattered stormlight hiss and frizzle in the grass. Above, a cloud-cliff slams the tropopause. He brakes his Sting-Ray as the dark head overtops the trees. Just stop, he thinks, Just stop, just stop, just stop —he wishes floods would wash away his house, his neighborhood, would scrub him clean as bone—a dove’s bone, or a crow’s. He’d be his own, at last, the thunderhead blown green above the plunging trees. But now some shine among the lilacs drives him, trembling, through the kitchen screen. His mom is slicing onions near the sink. He tries to find her eyes—he wants to see it there, that shine, but she’s a massing cloud, electrical, a stormhead building to its peak. It doesn’t matter, really, who they are. They both are part. He gives, except for fear. Same flesh, same cells, she wants the boy to be her. No, or yes—he doesn’t understand the question. She is so unhappy. Whatever dad is not, he is. That doesn’t make it right. The knife raps board, relentless, in his mom’s right hand, the onions’ clear blood runs, the dark head blows its load of vowels, squalling over fences, hedges, courts and fields, scouring, but it’s not enough. Some trace remains to turn himself against himself, as though he’d failed her. Lightning arcs from her to him—the boy smells ozone, singe, the funk of pitch. To death, a pine will bear the hollow where its heart- wood’s fried. How lightning serves its tree.