Siân Thomas has been Poet in Residence for Ashdown Forest. Her work has appeared in various publications, including the anthology London Rivers, and her pamphlet Ovid’s Echo is published by Paekakariki Press.
House in Mid-Air
A tilt to the right tips
the tray from your lap.
Over your knees goes the stew
in its gravy of rain.
There’s wind in the eaves
as you pitch on winged rafters
feather-tiles. Don’t let go.
Don’t step out: that squawk
was the flap of a fan-light.
Watch for the catch.
Save some stew for your cat
who’s getting his kicks on the roof
with a bat in his mouth
his whiskers flat, his tail
sticking out like a weather vane.
Woods overflow: leaves and fungi,
toy-bright; empty cradles
left by acorns. Rain stipples my face,
the backs of my hands.
I think of my washing –
shirts flailing on the line –
and turn back, weary,
In my left hand is a stone: I can’t drop it.
My blood’s heat has softened it.
It sits in my palm, round and perfect.
All the way here the leaves
played grandmother’s footsteps.
Now as I turn and they run towards me
I kick them away
till there’s only the rain and me
not what I’d expected.
All other women are with their children
or wishing they weren’t.
They’re driving them
into piles in cars or through gates,
their mouths puckered with blowing,
their cheeks red, coats flapping.
All other women are forests.
All other women are gods,
command storms, throw stones,
bestow kisses, drown cities.