233. Storm, March 5 (Visibility 1/5 mile, Duration 8 hours)

No news is good news,
Riah thought, that’s true.
Days had passed already,
She’d heard nothing….
Outside, the wind kicked up.
She circled, dusting, coughing.
Dirt flapped by.
Calendar–she squinted–
Said March fifth.
The numbered days were smudged
And dim with grime.
Riah smoothed the page:
She left black streaks.
Maybe they won’t
Church her, Riah thought.
Reckon it’s died down. They’ve
Changed their mind.

Back from town, Tom
Crashed in through the door–
The wind was slamming,
Slamming, papers flying
To the floor–as she
Turned, a spoon fell,
Clang! from off the table,
And the oilcloth blew askew.
Tom shut the door, howls
Beating at the house.

No good news. She read it
From his face.
The bad news stood.
He ain’t heartbroken, neither,
She thought, looking quick away–
In fact, I’d have to call him
Downright peaceful.

Tom walked by.
She stooped to clean.
I know just what he’s
Betting:
Back to normal!
Mud has hit the fan,
Fat’s in the fire–
But when the flare-up’s
Over, so he thinks, it’s back
To normal. Better:
Miz Kemp won’t come round.
Won’t things be nice.
Riah wiped the spoon.
Well, I like normal, too.
The same as you.

Dirt stung beneath her eyelids.
She rubbed, peeved, helpless
As a weary dog.
That calendar, again–
She blinked her eyes.
What-all I see, she thought,
It’s gone to dots:
The date, the door, the table,
All a-crumble,
Turned to grainy visions
In thick air.
It’s dust to dust,
She thought.
It’s everywhere.

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