The Note : Anna Crowe

Much later, she could see they’d colluded.

The two of them against him once again.

She remembered how all that day

the thunder prowling in the mountains

had muttered in their throats;

the piano a sullen lake; the way the house

had filled with their own weather.

As Scrabble set in for the evening

it was there in black and white:

how they’d occupied one corner of the board,

her mother’s rack a clot of consonants,

hers all vowels, like wordless cries.

Costive and small, their blocks

accused them, refusing to spell out

a word as long as forgiveness.

The television sucked her father’s face

into its glare, and had him cursing

as snow wiped out the film.

They sat silent while he swilled old griefs,

his shaking hands clasping a glass

he’d never finish emptying.

Recalling their alibis – her mother tucked up

with a whodunit, the girl following her father

out to the garage to settle the cat –

it’s clear now that when the glass exploded,

showering the empty kitchen with glittering dust,

the storm had caught the authentic note of the house,

pausing merely to run its finger round the rim.