Three turns are all it takes
Before the Tornado Child awakes.
If you get into a spin, act quickly;
Beyond three, you’re caught like a fish;
The Tornado Child is conjured
Like a genie in your rotation,
Plumbed to the weight of your wish,
Summoned by an ancient equation.
Beyond three, forces change in a wink;
There is nothing in heaven or earth to match
The axis that tethers you in a snap,
Or the twisting staircase that draws you
Like a lure in its spiralling trap.
Matter is changed in the tornado’s grasp,
Straw in brick, metal in wood,
Reformed material the Tornado’s path.
Wishes three have ever been
The province of the summoned genie,
The limits of a prescribed reality
Make the magic of that certain number.
A sleeping child dreams of drifting song,
The Tornado Child is stirred from slumber
And sails like a swan upon her vortex
In an adjacent world where angels belong.
Elizabeth Barton is an artist and poet from New Zealand, with work featured in Pink Plastic House, Fevers of the Mind, Black Bough Poetry’s Rapture and Christmas/Winter Edition 2021 and Vita Brevis Literature, Nothing Divine Dies. A winner of the 2020 White Label Cinq competition, she has a forthcoming poetry collection to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. Her art is in private and public collections worldwide, including the V & A Prints Collection, London.