One of those days when the rain clouds
Are so low I have to duck to keep my head out of them
And they cover the sun to make morning look like dusk,
Thousands of tiny liquid stars fall to quench the thirst
Of wilting July flowers and lost souls
I go outside, coatless, to be watered
Letting the screen door slam shut behind me
In a shower of mist and creaky hinges.
I follow the river-sidewalk to a bus stop bench
With peeling green paint and take a seat
In my star-soaked jean shorts.
I bury my toes in the five inches of turf
Between the bench and the sidewalk
A world for the surfacing pink worms to cross
Where they will shrivel and die when
The sun brings their hot-concrete Armageddon.
I absorb the tiny stars in my skin
And my arms and legs and hair become slick
With the gathering galactic water.
Before I never understood why florists spray
The flowers completely if the roots are the part that
Drink, but now I know.
The ricochets of rain pelting my face in the energy of
Each ping of every drop
I sit, covered in diaphanous liquid stars
And I imagine I glow in the gloomy darkness of noon
Someone else has joined me at the bus stop bench
To be watered too, I suppose.
He wears a coat with the collar turned up
And a faded Toronto Blue Jays baseball cap
With a frayed brim like laugh lines around a smile
That doesn’t exist anymore
The rain only touches his face and his hands, folded
On his lap over wet denim jeans.
I slide over and take his hat off, because I want him to
Feel the tiny stars like I do
He’s startled like someone should be when a stranger takes
Their hat off, and his glare of surprise is brown
Like a cinnamon stick.
He asks me what I’m doing
—You’ll be watered better if you let the rain touch your skin
But maybe he sees that I’m glowing so he takes his coat off
And a grin slowly spreads across a face with a freckled nose
I know he can feel the energy of the stars in his skin too
We sit at the bus stop bench in front of a sidewalk
That wriggles in happy fat worms dancing in the stars
But that will be shrivelled and dead this time tomorrow
And everyone else has umbrellas and coat collars and hats
And we have nothing between us and the rain
That feeds maps into our lost souls
(Busy busy busy like bees — I have some reviews coming up, and a couple rants to deliver, but for now here’s a poem I wrote in a moment of summer nostalgia. What do you miss most about summer? I’m pining for walks in the rain, can you tell?)