Jacqueline Mai in France:

The ‘Waiting for Me’ cloud

A train ride
To the seaside
In childhood
Just after the war
The black thundering engine
Rudely ejecting
Chuffed out clouds
Which drift lazily behind
Like streams of soap bubbles
Thinning and evaporating
Puffs of fluff
Contrasting greatly
With the rattle and roar
Of the engine’s ponderous weight
And then –
‘The sea, the sea
I can see the sea.’
And yes, there it is,
The same cloud
That was there last time
Has come round again
It must have gone all the way round the world
But there it is, waiting
At the same beach.
The adults with me laugh
How silly they are
I’ll never be like them
And I’m not…

(January 2006)

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