In Dominica, an earthquake cracked
Roger’s home like a walnut.
His wife’s omelette pan skipped off the stove,
their bed hopped the floor, chairs
pirouetted into shaking walls.
But cotted snug in a box for their breakfast –
half a dozen eggs, unbroken.
Visiting his mother in Grenada,
a hurricane peeled her house like an orange.
Winds stacked roofs, turned
tamarind trees into mops, uprooted
nutmeg plantations but left the glass
of his daughter’s portrait a smooth,
Half-submerged in New Orleans, Roger’s shoes
walked in pairs on water. Tables arked,
chairs waded out the doors
and dead rats trailed the apartment stairs,
while his daughter’s dress
hung freshly pressed on her bedroom door:
dry and pink with flowers.
From ‘Into the Yell’ by Sarah James, published by Circaidy Gregory Press (http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk/ ), July 2010.
Sarah James is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer and journalist, who has been widely published in anthologies, literary journals and online.
She was shortlisted in Templar Poetry 2009 Pamphlet and Collection Competition, had two poems shortlisted in The Plough Prize 2009 and was joint winner of the Exmoor Society’s Poetry Competition 2010. Her website and blog is at http://www.sarah-james.co.uk./