What do you expect

Yesterday had been a day when you sweated standing still. Today the August storms arrived ten days early. Palms dipped and swayed close to parallel with the ground. Shallow roots held as the rain had not yet softened the sun-charred earth.

Vito looked up from his cards and wrinkled his nose: it will all be past in half an hour. The far horizon was lightening. Thunder was far away above the sea.

The cicadas were silent. A single bird sang. It could have been warning, it could have been sorrow but it sounded of triumph. And now the sky was close to half clear and the rain had stopped. Shorter, weaker gusts of wind switched the olive trees from green to silver to green again. They shone in the reappearing sun.

Vito looked up again. What do you expect, he said. It is summer. There are strangers. What do you expect.

I forgot your birthday

Two years ago,
after twenty,
I forgot your birthday
but
remembered in the evening
when there were candles on a cake for a different purpose.
This year though, this year.
Yesterday I could not recall the date. After twenty two years.
Perhaps it would be tomorrow
or perhaps two days before.

Of course it is, of course.
It’s today and always will be, as it has been for ninety five years,
even for the last twenty two.
It’s today.
Of course it is.
Happy birthday mum.
There will be cake.

Today has been

Today has been a day of swings from yins to roundabout yangs. Some favourite things – sunshine, watermelon, friendship – and others not so tip top: wind skipping up sand, warm water and jellyfish in the shallows. But when the rain came and there was one umbrella for all of us, how many could take shelter? All of us, of course, because that is always the answer. All of us, together. All of us.