33. Next Morning

Her eyes opened.
Quiet.

Sunlight.
Quiet.
Riah listened to her breath.
She watched.
The sheet across her chest,
Rising, falling. Rising, falling.
Dry rivulets of brown
Slid off the slopes, hissed
To the floor, or pooled in hollows
Between her and Tom.
She swallowed.
Dirt snapped in her teeth.
Half-rising, she
Propped up on her hand.
The house can’t keep it out?
Used to, kept it out
Better than this.
Whole lot better, she thought,
Sitting up and spilling
Sheetfuls to the floor.

She parted the worn curtain,
Steeled herself.
Just another prankish weather.
Get dressed,
Fix the breakfast,
Count the loss.
She inventoried, at
The windowsill. Clear sky.
New leaves been blown
Clean off that plum tree–not some,
All–though it was early yet.
They might grow back.
The garden?
“Ruined,” she thought,
Buried sprouts entombed.
But she’d see. Bathe them,
They might revive.
She might replant. The few
That stood looked wrinkled,
Stunned and ill.

Windmill, wrecked.
The worst so far.
She tied her wrapper round her
And stepped out.
The vanes were splintered,
Smashed against each other,
Jagged, pointing every
Crazy way. No money
To replace it. Wood was
Scarce. Go find a busted shed,
But boards were old….
Windmills must be ordered.
Couldn’t build a windmill
Right–just poor men tried.
You lose in water
What you saved in price.

Well then, Riah thought,
Guess we’ll lose water.
She checked the holding tank.
The storm had fouled it,
Capped with green-blue scum.
She tensed:
They needed it.
If I boil this mess,
Can we drink? No chance
Typhoid getting James?
Tom will hate to see that
Windmill, she thought,
Sure.

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