Rain, First Morning

Rain falls across the avenues.
What can I say anymore that might be
equal to this sound, some hushed
drumming that stays past the gravelly
surge of the bus. In the apartment complex
a songbird strikes a high glass note above those
rushing to work, uneasy under umbrellas.
Is it they who are meant,
is it me who is meant, my listening,
my constant struggle to live on my terms,
unexemplary, trying always to refuse
anything but the field, the wooden rowboat,
veils of wind in the pine.
Films of gold in my throat as I say out loud
the ancient words that overlay
isolation. And yet I miss stillness
when it opens, like a lamp in full sunlight.
I’m ready to sense the storm before the trees
reveal it, their leaves shuffling
in thick waves of air. I have said to myself
This too is no shelter but perhaps the pitch of quiet
is just a loose respite from heat and loss,
where despite ourselves the rain makes hazy
shapes of our bones. Despite ourselves
we fall silent—each needle of rain hits the ground.
Whoever stops to listen might hear water
folded in the disk of a spine, a river
barely move. A bird ticking on a wire.
I no longer believe in a singing that keeps
anything intact. But in the silence
after the raincall that restores, for a moment
at least, me to my most partial
self. The one content to blur
into the dark smoke of rain.
More Poems by Joanna Klink