There must be some subliminal thing going on, American storms and all that. It’s only now that I’ve realised it as I was screwing up my eyes trying to figure out where this one had sprung from. And it really did happen, the Wigan tornado.
It came at us from across the field
its cobweb strands spinning a furious
whip of leaves and twigs
We watched, unmoving and ducked when it hit
and ripped off the soffits and threw them splintered high above the house.
by comparison to the one in Kansas
the one that killed that witch
and all hell broke loose
Her unconvincing feet bent in glittered shoes.
It was at the time he didn’t care
and it was up to you to put it right.
It was a Friday.
I know that because on Fridays
he came home reeking of classrooms and staff rooms,
of chalk and science labs:
of cobalt blue and sulphur yellow,
and instant coffee and the grime of other children.
And he couldn’t wait to wash off this weekday smell
and back out of the drive ’til Sunday.
We watched him go,
and then breathed again,
mother-daughter arms around waists.
We shut the door,
and phoned the man to fix the soffit.