We’d kept them prisoner for three days
blaming the relentless applause of rain.
Like cattle at the grills of a gate
they sat, face against window waiting
for the clap of water to fade.
Noses smudged against
the braided pane they argued
our reasoning stating the cows
and their calf’s that mooched
in the distant fields
spent days in the rain,
but never sneezed.
On the second morning of captivity
they agreed in the privacy of their
cell a hunger strike was the only way.
It began after breakfast, ended
shortly before lunch. We tried games
scrabble and eye-spy but every word
was a please, a when, or a why.
Mostly they stared at the clouds,
willing them to end their dark hovering.
How guilty we’d felt, watching
them place bets on rain drops,
the first to snail
the window would win. Or at night
when from their beds they’d offer
their souls to God, promising never
to argue with each other again.
The holiday ended as it began
awash with rain and relief.
Many years on it is I who watches
the heavy crowd of clouds, pacing
the piss stinking corridors of a
nursing home, waiting for one
of them to call and tell me the
trip to the seaside is a no go,
as the rain is for the day
and my chest is not what it was.