The Cloud Mouth

It was all of a moment,
words are too slow.

I was baking,
and Tam was playing
down the garden.
Washing was drying on the line.
Then the sky
came dark.

So out I went
to bring in the washing
before the rain.
Clouds there were,
blown up out of nowhere,
the front of the storm,
those above dark gray
piled up, massive,
and those below white,
and all of them curling, turning, reaching,
some of them lit silver inside.
clouds like hair, like tendrils,
reaching, rushing,
and the wind, the wind whipping the clothes
’til I could hardly gather them in,
the line like a wild thing in my hand.

So I called to Tam,
“Tam, child, come in,
rain’s coming, come in to me now!”

He’s gathering up his toys
and I’m unpegging the clothes
throwing them into the basket
not even thinking of folding,
fighting with them,
struggling to get them down,
and one blue shirt the wind tears clean across,
and the clouds, turning,
white’s above now,
changing, piled, like castles, like dragons,
though I’m not really looking,
because Tam’s running up the garden towards me
his arms spilling full of toys
when the clouds
open a great mouth
and sweep him up.
Just for a moment I can still see him
and the look on his face,
like Christmas morning!

So there I am
holding half a limp shirt
on my own in the garden
under the empty sky.

2nd July 2003