Smell Right Before, and Just After, the Rain
I breathe from my nose
on days I think it might rain, bating the scent.
And the clouds are rumbling their apologies,
hanging out the rain
in sheets, so it could dry
by the chatter of the winds.
It’s the thick kind of rain,
gusting sideways to keep up
with the rush of passersby.
I look up, let the rain bounce into my nose.
The drips are a beautiful symmetry,
translusentual the way it spread.
when the wind takes a breath,
the rain straightens,
The storm raises the neighborhood’s
blinders like three days after Christmas lights come down
and brown pine needles
bleed from street to street.
No one’s looking
out for anything.
Johns and Janes are sheltering themselves
with free newspapers
and the popped collars of waterproof coats.
My coat has no collar.
Street vending machines are all empty.
And the rain is weakening, anyway,
only enough to alert a conscious observer.
Crowds of grass rub elbows,
finish drinking themselves heavy, they fall asleep.
The clouds' candy paint,
a lucid mix of grays, blues, and a pink,
seems dry in the eyes of passersby
and the white is pushing through.
I’m looking for that smell of survival,
soaking into the concrete,
the rain’s retreat.