Coming to Terms

Thunder grumbles across the horizon.
A greying mile away a mother
winces, raises dough-dressed hands
from the batch of bread she's kneading,
gazes through steam-blistered windows,
into the curdled mass of sky.

Clouds, writhing in that sky
all the way from the dark horizon,
seem to stretch through flimsy windows,
grimly reaching for the mother.
How can she continue kneading
with suddenly unsteady hands?

To quiet tremor, she clasps hands,
averts eyes from the threat of sky,
then doggedly resumes her kneading,
launches prayers to the horizon:
If I could be the Earth's own Mother,
control the world beyond my windows

stay the blast of punishing wind, oh
establish calm with lifted hands!
Lightning crackles. Foolish mother,
she chides herself, command the sky
You cannot govern the home's horizon,
quell storms born of your own needing.

Pouring fury into kneading,
despite the clamour of quaking windows
and blackened knots on the horizon,
she works the dough within her hands
to loaves as smooth as fair June skies.
Storm or calm, still she is mother --

dawn or midnight, ever mother,
committing hours and hands to kneading
more than bread beneath the sky.
As rain attacks the hapless windows,
brushing dough-bits from her hands,
she wills hope towards the horizon.

Inscrutably, skies loom through windows.
Mindfully, the mother kneads
her hands, prepares for fierce horizons.

Sally Buckner

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