Angry at the Wind

My mother was angry at the wind for tearing clothes from the line,
for driving rain through open windows to soak beds and rugs,

for coating couches, lamps, coffee table, and dressers with a film
of dust. She was angry at the wind for slamming doors and banging
shutters, for flinging shingles from the roof and mounding leaves

            against the kitchen door. And she was angry at the wind
for carrying my father’s words to her, as I too often did. She stood

in yellow sunshine, in a blue cotton dress, a scarf knotted beneath
unruly caramel curls, her back to the house, sheets billowing,
            pegged shirts ballooning and inflated sleeves waving

            with elemental inspiration from the blue, grimly hanging
our costumes of those years, cleansed of a week of dirt and stain
and sweat. When I told her what my father had said, the wind

stole my words, and I will swear she never heard. Wooden clothes-
pins clamped in her teeth, she glared at the day that would not end,

            the wash that would never be done, and the relentless
sunshine and the swaying boles and lashing branches of green
            and gray drawing the wind for miles into a woods she wished

was a forsaken wilderness, a scatter of trackless shadows beyond
            our fence posts and wire, for her to enter and disappear.

Eric Paul Shaffer's poems have appeared in Slate, North American Review, The Sun Magazine, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, PRISM International, and Stand Magazine, among others.

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