Daughters of Thor
At the first rumble we would scramble to the window,
eyes bright lightning strikes,
ears curved conch shells, echoing
the distant tide.
The air charged with static,
from the low rumbless in our parent’s room
and we would count the claps of thunder –
One thousand, two thousand, three thousand,
as the storm blew overhead.
We watched for the flash of electricity
that would split the sky so wide—
once we climbed up a jagged fork of light
and crawled inside. We stared down
at the channel churning below, marbled as tombstone,
saw the look of horror on the faces of of sailors
trying to turn into the wind.
And watched the coastguard slip from his bed,
his life neatly rolled up on the shore.
We didn’t feel the sharp edges of sky tearing
our skin— the three of us,
worthy daughters of Thor. We just listened
behind closed doors.
In the morning our mother would sweep debris,
sew the world back together again.
She tried to fix the sky split too,
with a plastic first aid kit, rolls of lint.
But on a bright day
you can still see the scars.
The day Mary died
she was fussing for her key— the silver Yale
which fitted snugly inside the lock
She’d left the fumbling of pockets, handbags,
on the other side of the hospice doors.
The nurse said the night before she died
she’d cried for all those times locked
inside the understairs cupboard, scolded
by her mother— over eighty years before.
When we collected her things –
nighties, glasses, a wash bag,
we found a spare key pinned
into the hem of her skirt.
Karen Jane Cannon’s poems have appeared in a variety of print and online journals, including Acumen, Orbis, Obsessed with Pipework, The Interpreter’s House and Ink, Sweat & Tears, as well as anthologies such as Other Countries (Rewiring History, 2014) and The Sea. She was highly commended for The Flambard Poetry Prize 2014.