Weather Proverbs, Explained by Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Ingrid Jendrzejewski is the 1st place winner of Streetlight’s 2018 Flash Fiction Contest
Sailboat in storm
More Sailboat by Erich Ferdinand. CC license.


Mare’s tails and mackerel scales Make tall ships take in their sails.

She’s studied the weather and knows about clouds which is why her lips are thin and tight. She does not want to tell him about the promotion. Tonight, she will prepare a nice dinner, but chop the onions too quickly. Blood from her little finger will mingle with Bolognese.

When the sky fills with altocumulus and cirrus clouds, a warm front is approaching. Although the day might be pleasant, it’s time to batten down the hatches: soon, conditions will be favourable for storms.

When the ass begins to bray, Surely rain will come that day.

He is happy for her but he is also not happy for her. He will not say that he is not happy for her but instead will complain about these things in this order: the weather, the season, the neighbour’s barking dog, the tightness of his interview suit around his waist, the quantity of onions in her pasta sauce. She will try to make a joke, but it will backfire.

When a storm is approaching, air pressure plummets. Some organisms are sensitive to minute changes in the environment, changes that humans can’t detect. Beware the daisy who closes her eye. Beware the swallow who flies low. Beware a ring around the moon.

The sharper the blast The sooner ‘tis past.

Neither of them expect him to hit her but he does. She will emit a sharp, startled cry and he will look at his hand as if it belongs to something else. “I didn’t mean,” he will say. “I don’t know what,” he will continue. When they go to bed, she will feel him look at her back with weak, wet eyes. He will pull her so close she cannot escape the smells of dinner and toothpaste on his breath.

Strong winds build fast, rage hard, then pass. Storms that catch one by surprise are likely to blow over before there is time to find an umbrella.

Clear moon, frost soon.

She is still awake when the pale sunlight creeps into the bedroom through the sides of the curtains. She is stiff from lying still through the night. Soon, it will be time for her to get out of bed, to ready herself for work. She will not wake him when she slips out of his arms, out of their bed. She will not turn on the lights when she gets dressed. She will not kiss his forehead before she leaves the house.

On clear nights, the Earth’s surface cools rapidly. With no clouds to get in the way, heat from the ground radiates up and disappears into space. If the temperature is cold enough, the ground will freeze. It is important to know the sky: some things, no matter how many storms they weather, are undone by a single frost.

Path through frosted woods
Bisamberg Frost by Valentin Bluml. CC license.

 Ingrid Jendrzejewski
Ingrid Jendrzejewski has found homes for her work in places like Passages North, The Los Angeles Review, Rattle, and The Conium Review. She is the editor in chief of FlashBack Fiction and a flash editor at JMWW. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Vestal Review’s VERA Award, and five times for Best Small Fictions. Links to Ingrid’s work can be found at and she tweets @LunchOnTuesday.

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