The rain. Blurry cloud-springs of it.
The symphony of it repeated from sky
to ear pressed against the screen.
A permeable canopy covering hillocks of earth
as our slight human lives bulk up
for coming winter. Water so holy in scorched land.
Downpours reflect and shadow the pallid light
as our nests are resettled with comforts,
a ritual of expectancy.
This season is a promise and a kind of partition
before rain sharpens into sleet–
we labor, hunker down, forecast.
I try to separate possible fates of the world from home.
As if they can be so different. Sometimes, still.
Nature weighs in, from all perspectives:
splash drench stir cool carry away trash
Yesterday as I opened blinds to let in
a sunnier moment you stated an intention
to fly out to see our parents but
noted a problem: where did they reside now?
I pressed my lips together. Address: cemetery.
Said gentler words as I have before, matter-of-fact.
Your lips form Oh and that brings Mom and Dad
here and now, to your deep heart and mine.
When you ask after the others, I must count
the dead as I’ve done dozens of times
until you know it’s truly so, til next time you forget.
It may be in the next moment.
I swallow, pet your good dog.
I am getting better with this roll call.
Your memories are stolen out from under you
in plain sight. I recall lovely times so
you can borrow mine. I know they won’t keep.
I want to cry out,
take them all so you can return to me, sister.
But you are sitting beside me, yourself.
We color pictures in brilliant palettes,
flashy mandalas of joy.
And sing “Stairway to the Stars”, one verse
that we half-create. As we talk, you
stare at a photo of my twin granchildren
in strange, gorgeous homemade masks,
and this triggers balloons of your laughter.
It obliterates every
point of pain.
It is how we do this.
It’s raining again, I say, pleased with it, with us.
Oh, is it? you answer with a dreamy gaze.
Meanwhile much later in the dark
the rain pummels and drips.
When I can’t sleep and there is a lull in showers,
I turn on a soundtrack of murmuring Northwest rainforest.
Like outside my windows, it whispers Home.
The banket and quilt are re-shaped, made welcoming.
Into my dreams arrive those who are gone,
then the living burst in and it’s a mad gathering;
we go exquisite places, do impossible things
and make a simple stone house out of ruins.
The rain pulses against shingles, softens thoughts;
it swathes sorrow, reveals wisps of light.
Nature cannot know how much I need this
(or can it?) after a firestormed summer.
Celebration rains are for other creatures,
cracked piney dirt, all that has struggled to live.
But, too, for this woman who in the morning
stands in slow drizzle, hands and face turned up
to sky’s sweet baptismal power.
Twisting leaves in bronze and cinnamon
amaze as they drift and skip to earth,
slick and shining as they pass.