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Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Rainiest May in the Twentieth Century

For weeks, we dreamed ourselves
through each day—the corners of tables,
the intimate shapes of our hands
no longer enough
to jar us fully awake. In the kitchen,
the counters gave off their glittery stare,
but like any bottle or chair, we were rained upon
by the falling air—the rain touching
and touching us to its damp hair.

They say the dead keep growing
their hair and nails, their own kind of weather
wrapping around them, tethering them
more fervently to the earth
because of the persistence
of what surrounds them. And so,
we felt our own sleep deepen,
our bodies grow mute as stones
in a gray-green soil—reluctant to move
through such a thick, viscous world.

In the end, every window slurred our view—
the panes swelled by a slow-motion current.
My husband's body wavered, a fluid heaviness
moving towards me, and all the doors creaked
like old buoys out at sea. Even birds refused to sing—
too stunned, like us, with a certain quiet,
unable to commit to any one specific thing.

In this weather, there was no forgetting
where we were, no pushing off
from the present moment. For a time,
we were quieted, like figures
in a landscape painting who show us
they see the mountains in the distance
by the way their bodies are poised,
ready to listen.

Originally published in Poems & Plays.

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