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Tomorrow the river will swell

The storm crawled in from the southwest
as it always does,
lighting up the sky with silent fireworks
after sundown.
The earth below hot, hot and dark like a feverish womb.
The rain came slowly. It seemed far away.
It seemed almost spent by the time it reached us.

We sit side by side on this balcony, suspended
on different planets of thought,
some gaseous,
some ghastly,
some heavy as lead,
but so well hidden in the dark
that we both give a start
as light rips into the fabric of the night
and branches out across the horizon.

‘Maybe we should take a break,’ I hear you say
and then you get up to leave
and it’s quiet, all quiet,
the sound all but drained from the world.
Inside, a computer screen floods the room with dim blueness.
My eyes, the sky, brimming with moisture.

The first raindrops tiptoe quietly through the warm summer air,
tapping on windows, sliding, landing
on the leafy green,
indistinguishable from tears.
Then the patter intensifies.
The world is suddenly obscured by vapor.
It’s muted the birds, reduced them to wet plumage.

All I can hear are ambulance sirens,
all I can think is:
‘Death never takes a break,
death doesn’t stop at beauty,
death, too, is tiptoeing around us.’
The dampness smells of time, of cancelled unfoldings, of errancy.
I wipe my face thinking, ‘No matter, 
the mountains will be there tomorrow,
tomorrow the river will swell.’

#writing #poetry

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