You can tell it’s coming
by the metal panels slotted into doorways,
the glances up, the shaking heads: signs
the sky’s going to unravel, the Gardon swell,
the poplars on its banks about to
find themselves knee-deep. Clouds collapse
then plunge to earth without pausing to inhale.
The shuttered house across the valley
settles down, forlorn and grey.
From other roofs, smoke rises like a prayer,
evaporates. In wellies and cagoules,
we dash to feed the chickens, to snatch the mail
while in the bedroom, drips chime
into two pans and a bucket.
Up here we’re OK. Down in Anduze
the Gardon bursts, cars go floating off like bales.
In the butcher’s queue
the old-timers mutter, remembering the year
the Pont du Ners collapsed and the river
swept the mill boss to his death.
(from my collection 'The Red House', published by Drunk Muse Press)
Copyright © Sharon Black 2011