After Lunch, The Sky

It came on suddenly. After lunch, the sky 
lowered and a few fat drops 
smacked on the terrace. 

The smell of hot dust, newly wet. 	 
Staff ran to fetch in parasols. 
The pool was pocked-marked as though a child 

was throwing in handfuls of stones, and the wind 
wild-whipped the palm trees on the front 
so hard and so fast we were sure they’d snap.
The rain billowed and danced like snow, bounced back 
and splashed our ankles, icy cold,  
and the world was suddenly only water and roar, 

as though we had somehow slipped anchor, far from shore.  
We watched from the balcony, my palms pressed 
against my youngest’s chest, 

his heart leaping, all of us goosebumped and squealing, 
stretching our arms and necks 
into the force of the storm. Only you 

stayed indoors. You’ve never liked the rain. 
Afterwards, everything felt clean and sharp: 
the storm perhaps not so sudden after all – 

rather, there was a heaviness in the air  
and we only knew its weight when it had gone. 

by Jen Emery

Jen Emery thinks, writes and speaks about work and life in all its messy beauty. She has a day job in the City of London and coaches, teaches and writes business books. She also writes poetry. Her work has been published in magazines including Atrium, Brittle Star and The Interpreter’s House, and her short story in verse was published by Atmosphere Press. She lives with her family in London and Edinburgh and much prefers sonnets to spreadsheets!

photo by Pok Rie