206. The Trembling

Rain enough
To glitter on her hand.
Riah’d reached out quick–
Like silver
On her thickened palm,
The droplets snatched sun,
Cracking it to rainbows,
Winking, flash….

To a flattened film of sweat.
The heat.
Clouds slid west.
She turned, and
Climbed her steps.

Check the kitchen cabinet:
Cornmeal sack.
She thought, of the three m’s
Poor folks live on,
Meat, molasses, meal,
We’re down to one.
Miss Flynn said she’d
Come by with some beans–
So Louise reported,
Having stormed her office
In staged fury:
The McKennas, left to starve!

All abrupt,
As if shoved,
Riah sat.
Rigid in the chair,
She gripped her knees.
Then, the twitching–
Wrists, arms, neck, legs quaked,
Her teeth chattered,
Her head buzzed.

It passed.
She breathed deeply,
Shaking still.
This came over her,
Just now and then,
Since duster season started.
Maybe since her
Canned goods had run out:
She was not sure.
She would shake, and
Pray that no one saw.

Was it, she thought,
Like Louise’s headaches?
Did they swoop this way,
Seize her, and leave?
When she tried to tell me,
Riah thought with rue,
I hardly heard.

But this shaking
Broke loose from inside her,
And careened wild
Till it ran its course.
Like the drought, the dusters,
Like the moments she saw
James, and thought: he’s
Thin–came with no
Rhyme or reason–inner
Burst, a squawk
Against the outer bursts,
As random, as untamed.

Riah sat, shamed.

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