Listen to this piece read by the author

Then the Rain

after years of virga, after
much almost
& much never again, after
coalescing in dry

lightning & downdrafts & fire,
after taking an alternate
path thru
history & bypassing

us, after the trees,
after the gardens,
after the hard seeds
pushed in as deep as

possible & kept alive on dew,
after the ruts
which it had once cut
filled in with

dust & moulds – & pods
that cannot sprout –
not even the birds
came – & old roads

began to reappear –

after the animals,
after the smallest creatures
in their tunnels & under
their rocks,

after it all went, then,
one day,
out of in-
terference & dis-

continuity, out of in-
out of collision
somewhere high above our

burnt lands, out of
chemistry, unknowable
no matter how

out of the touching of one atom by an
other, out of the
accident of
touch, the rain


We thought it was
more wind. Something tapped
the peeling roof.
We knew it was not

heat ticking, our secret imaginary
birds. We knew it by the smell which filled
the air re-
minding us, what did it

remind us of, that smell,

as if the air turned green,
as if the air were the deep in-
side of the earth
we can never reach

where it reaches out to
those constellations we have not
discovered, not named, & now
never will,

and which are not dead, no –

And it brought memory. But of
what. So long. Where are you my
tenses. The crowns
rattled again, harder, & again we thought

wind. I pressed
the rusted screen door
& stepped out. Was I afraid? Where it hit
dust whirled up

in miles of refusals – stringy, flaring,
as if flames could be dust,
faster with each landing, till it
tamed them & they

lay down again as earth,
and were still,
and took it in

& when I sat on the low wall
it slid over my features,
& my neck held runnels,
as if I were a small book

being carefully perused for
faults, ridges, lapses of
time in my thought –
because I could not recall it –

my skin could not,

my hands could not,

I look at them now

with my eyes full of rain,
and they say hold us up,
you are not dying
yet, we are

alive in the death
of this iteration of
earth, there will be another
in which no creatures like us

walk on this
plateau of years & minutes & grasses &
roads, a place where
no memory can form, no memory of

anything, not again, but for now
the windowpanes shake as the
harder rain hits
and the stiff grasses bend over &

the thing which had been a meadow once
releases a steam,
& if you listen you can hear
a faint pulse in it,

a mirage, a release of seeds into the air

where wind insists, & my heavy

hands which rise now, palms up, shining,
say to me,
touch, touch it all,
start with your face,

put your face in us.

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