Passing storms

(This poem has been returned to its display case following cleaning!)

Photo by Dave Hoefler on 
Unsplash, and gratefully used.

She sat on the edge of the bed while the blood and snot and tears 
ran down between the large breasts she knew he used to like
and onto the sex shop chemise she had thought he would like,
making a display she still hoped would win his sympathy.

He stood looking down at her, merely disgusted.
See, he said, what happens when you make me angry.

It’s not the hand that turns the clock
Nor post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Hey, don’t worry, I’ll go get some, he had said. 
I’ll be back before the kettle’s boiled, he’d added, 
flipping the duvet to her side of the bed. 

She had to lift her requesting lips up to him, 
and her kiss was brief.

Her sister met her at the hospital.  It was afternoon
by the time they came home, taking a detour to see
the junction where the teenager had kept on fast through the red.
The morning’s tragedy was marked only by the confetti of little plastic shards,
already pressed into the asphalt.

At home, they sat with tea. The cup rattled her distress on the saucer.
If only, she said, when she could voice the words,
I had kissed him one second longer, or for one second less.

It’s not the hand that turns the clock
Nor post hoc ergo propter hoc.

A woman, who had been stooped in her cottage garden,
uncurled herself against the heavy air and wiped her brow with her forearm,
her hand being grey with soil. She looked at me.
We need a storm to clear this heat away, she said.

I walked on and up the hill, my shirt sticking the length of my back.
At the top I could see it coming from the west 
– the cold front, with the billowed clouds heaping closer and higher.
It came over us within the hour. The lightning cracked, the thunder menaced the hillsides, 
and everything was soaked. And the air was indeed fresher afterwards.

I imagined the front rolling on eastwards over a hundred damp-browed gardeners, 
each thinking they had found causality.

It’s not the hand that turns the clock
Nor post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Though I make these forays into ‘free’ verse, I remain sceptical of – in truth exasperated by – the apparent modern belief that poetry can be created merely by snipping up lines of dull prose.  My policy, for the moment at least, is to add line breaks only where they serve as ‘enhanced punctuation’ – emphasising rhythm and/or meaning. And if that means I’m writing prose, well, I don’t mind. Let it be prose.

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