Marshalled against the Hekatonchires

for Jeremy whose brother was struck and survived

The lightning itself wasn’t so bad.
It was intense but it was pretty quick.
The recovery was harder.
Weeks she spent lying in bed unable to move.
Not paralyzed, not unconscious, just so feeble that swallowing was work.
She had to do everything consciously.
They had her on a machine that breathed for her until she relearned how to do it herself.
In out hold, said the machine. This way. In out hold.

Things went faster.
Soon she was moving around, soon she was talking.
Not fast, and not loudly, but she could do them.
When she was more or less herself again she had them take her out to the porch.
Nighttime on the twelfth floor.
She could see the city on the horizon, swellings of light.
The clouds muscled in and closed out the sky.
The first cold drops struck her face.
“Come back inside, miss,” said the orderly. “Please.”
“I want to stay here,” she said. “I want to watch the storm.”
She sat there on the porch while the thunder rattled.
It didn’t matter.
Just a light show.

People would find out, later.
Somehow it would always come up in conversation.
“I was struck, once.”
Voices fell silent, ice cubes rattled in drinks.
She liked the silences.
“Did,” some poor soul, eyes bright with sympathy, “did it hurt?”
“Oh, yes,” she said. “Yes. Quite a lot.”
It didn’t matter.
Just a passion play.