This poem is taken from Stand 230, 19(2) June - July 2021.

Joe Davies In Which Branches Come Down
Of all the afternoons you choose to have a nap, this one surprises me. The weather here is usually so docile it’s easy to forget we live in a world where nature can have its way when and however it wishes. I dislike being vulnerable – I’m not used to thinking I am – and I dislike that you are vulnerable too. Even more so. But here it is, a day with an edge to it. And a warning no less. And what do you do? You go to sleep.

The wind picks up just shortly after lunch, a far more exotic affair than I am used to. You have produced a vegetable curry and rice and those flat bread things. What do they call them? I forget.  You’d glare at me for this, I know, but I don’t retain the details the way I used to. Important things, yes. Mostly. All the rest, not so much. You would accuse me of not being present. You would say I am merely skimming the surface of existence yet again and perhaps you are right. I do coast sometimes, and know it. But please, never deny that I am there for you whenever you need it most. Say what you like about how shallow I am, but let’s not forget how I look out for you.

You go to sleep. You sink into your wing-backed chair after lunch – after two cups of coffee! How jealous I am – and you tilt your head to one side, and in no time at all have slipped away from the sound of the wind rising outside. I have no idea how you do it. How you can.

I wonder, are we at the tail end of some hurricane, and I didn’t hear about it? The wind begins with a few of those clichéd howls everyone talks about so much and before long is up to a tremendous pitch, tugging all of creation about so that it seems I can even feel it from inside the house. The windows judder in their frames. The light beside your desk flickers and goes out for a moment before it decides to spring back on. Clocks will need to be reset. Outside has come alive.

I go to the kitchen to bury myself in busywork, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up the pans from your magnificent lunch, and unaccountably I so successfully lose track of time that nearly twenty-five minutes go by. When I return to where you are – you’re not there!
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