48. Storm, April 11 (Visibility 1 1/2 miles, Duration 12 hours)

Laying his head
On the breakfast table,
“Hurts,” James said.
Riah gazed down,
Hands on coffee cup.
She poured coffee in his milk
To cheer him up.
She had other worries:
Here it comes, another
Storm. Doesn’t even wait
Till afternoon.
North wind pronged the house,
A sea-like roar–
She felt caged in a shell.
She tucked stray hair.

She specially disliked
Rethinking habits. But
Now she could not stop.
Why beat the rug
As soon as skies had cleared?
More dust next day.
Why do an extra laundry
For the sheets? They won’t
Stay fresh. She was
Washing more and more. Her
Back twinged: boiling, wringing,
Hang to dry–
Yesterday’s clean shirts,
Shut tight in drawers,
Had turned to brown again
With this new wind.
You did laundry after dusters,
That was all.
That’s what clean people did.
Her mother had.
But the weather then
Was not so bad–
Or maybe was, thought Riah,
And I’m lazy. What
Happens if you don’t
Clean up the dirt?

The windmill felt shaky.
Riah thought, if it busts
One more time,
I swear there’s nothing left
To fix it with:
Chop the kitchen table
To make vanes.
She pictured to herself
An empty house,
All the insides gone
To patch the mill.
One windmill,
A ceiling, and some
Walls. The porchboards
Hissed with sand.

Head on the table,
“Go to school?” asked James.
Worth asking, but he knew
What she would say.

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