She sighed so heavily as she began
clearing the tables, she seemed to sigh
for all of us, like some sort of ending.
That young couple had left such a mess:
Empty little packets of Fruit n’Fibre
crumpled red serviettes, soggy tea bags
smearing the table cloth and seeping through
to the grain.
It was more than that though:
Only Wednesday morning.
Rain bucketing down.
The sigh seemed to spread
and take up a position in the clouds
and all afternoon blew itself across town.
Men in pink shirts in estate agents.
Women in leotards practising The Lion’s Breath.
The grubby windows of an abandoned hardware store.
A couple stretching their necks out
from the door of a Marie Curie Charity Shop
like bemused ostriches. They all sighed.
Sighing as trouble, sigh as contagion:
billowing the pink kagool of a woman
walking her soaked-to-the-bone poodle
then out to the cliffs, where the sea
takes it all in – the wind’s exasperation –
bringing back its aired waters and breath
as a beginning.