Shrove Tuesday – A Poem by Christine Hemp

Shrove Tuesday 

by Christine Hemp

Southerly gusts clocked up to fifty. Douglas firs like frenzied horses
charged through the dark and back again.

Inside, the fire crackled—wind drew heaven close, and we could feel
the horses’ breath. A blast slammed down the flu and the fire began

to smoke. Big billows—blue manes of stallion, of mare— filled
our living room. We cracked the windows. Air! we said, Air!

No relief. Ash settled on the couch, the lamp, the clock. We choked,
trying to clear the room when another puff rose

above the mantle, over the urns, the stone shelf. I closed all
the open books, their pages fluttering and turning fast.

This has to stop, I said, then coughed and swatted the thickening
air, as if to scare the horses back the way they’d come.

© 2010 Christine Hemp

About Margaret D. McGee