Rain the Modifier

Early April gray-sky Sunday
waiting for the hissing voice of rain
for the pleasures of rain, the deepening
it brings to leaves and roads, the rust it urges on
the lazy dirt it stupefies and muddies, drowsy worms
it drives up to the surface, to shiver at
a vast ferocious heaven, to answer the endless hunger of birds
all the dead things it breaks and separates
—leaves and pages, faces—
to send them on to green again (they say)
the finicky lovers of dryness it sends scampering to shelter
the foolish walking wanderers it calls, their foolishness
a kind of horizontal rain
a rain that brings out the fragrance of dust on the moon,
the stink of certain notorious mountain spirits
(from a black and silver hill inside the mountains
where also lives the moon, in her dark sister's house)
the way it makes another different morning
where later on, rags will sing in all the trees
and everything will find a way to scatter
will surely find a way though (even though)
every hour of the night the nameless thing
was listening, like a shadow, like a skinny widow
in the house of voices, like a baby misbehaving
crawling naked on an oily driveway
little and fast, too new and fat for silence
letting out a thing, a pre-word, a sound
like a spoonful of glue which came from (in the old days)
bones—and stunk like hell—so the men would cook them down
well away from the houses while the women were gathered inside,
peacefully tearing and ripping scraps for patterns
of warmth: water lilies made of rags

but just for now, because the rain came through
there will surely have to be some early morning heat and
splendor, sleepy angels in the grass who change to vapor
and the vapor to a waver dance and shimmy in that heat,
reason to a glitter on the little blades, identical
and everywhere, and clarity be shining
hard hard hard (for now)

Robert Gregory | Mudlark No. 17
Contents | A Man in Black Shoes Walking Slowly