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The Dust at the Center of the Rain

All week it has been raining. I wake early each morning and sit by the window to listen.

The science of rain sounds like poetry:

droplets increase


they can

no longer be


by upward movement

of air …

I am supported by an upward movement of air, gusting in the window. There are the crackles of droplets exploding on the sodden ground; the steady ping ping ping of the drainpipe; the shiver of leaves bowing under the onslaught; the tatting on the sill of the open glass. The wind rises, gives everything a good shake, then rushes away again like a joyous dog.

Meditation: To connect to being without words. A good practice for a poet. Each morning, legs folded at my window, my mind fills with rain.

air cools…

condenses around

dust, particles…

visible as clouds

How can it rain so hard each morning, day after day? Why don’t the clouds blow away or move on as they usually do in New York? I remember lying on the beach as a child, watching the thunderheads roll in, black as the oil tankers drifting on the blue-black sound. I’d scurry home for peanut butter and honey sandwiches, for hot chocolate going down so smooth after so much brine, then emerge to an afternoon of bright sun and glittering grass.

In Texas, after endless drought, it rained for 45 days. There was a trough in the upper air. It met a low pressure system, warm air from the Gulf laden with rain. Then it “refused to budge.” Flooding washed away roads.

I am put in mind of what refuses to budge. Regret. Disappointment. Grief. I sit and listen to the hydrologic cycle: transpiration, evaporation, condensation, precipitation. The continuous movement of water between heaven and earth.

To think at the center of each drop there is a tiny particle of dust! My ancestors rise, the motes of my dead and my living, and together we wash down that way where once there was a road. My mind is empty of words, for maybe 45 seconds, when wind like a joyous hound floods my senses and the rain is all I can hear.


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