It’s been over 25 years since I last wrote a poem, and that might be for the best. But I like the idea of producing 30 single sitting pieces (Poems with Legs as my friend Gillian Devereux is calling them). Here is the today’s.
April 1st: The Rains
The first day of the rains, we cancelled our brunch plans. We brewed coffee at home and returned to bed. Talked about when we used to get Sunday papers and read tweets out loud. We were warm and dry, just as we’d been for most of our lives, and expected we’d continue to be. We made pasta pomodoro for dinner, and we had no regrets, we’d see our friends next weekend.
It wasn’t strange that it kept raining. Who wants a sunny Monday anyway? We talked about it on the subway, drawn together by shared adversity. Buckets, cats and dogs, men, hallelujah. We ordered in lunch at work, and tipped well, outsourcing our discomfort. We had one drink at the bar. The rain might stop. What if the difference between wet and dry was just one drink?
By Wednesday, some streets were flooded. Those of us who could, stayed home. The rest worked half days until the governor announced that people should stay home. People exited in an orderly fashion, but still one person drowned on Central Ave.
Then it was just Maggie and me. We played board games, we sang duets, we made a fort, dividing our small space into ever smaller spaces. We both cooked our specialties, hers learned from her mom, mine from a stint as a short order cook. We learned the dances from Grease, and Dirty Dancing. We read the pile of New Yorkers. We circled events in the Goings on About Town section that we’d go to if we lived in New York, if they hadn’t happened over a year ago, if there were still events.
At first, we’d look out the windows at the grey and the rain. Sometimes, we’d see people outside, wearing the traditional yellow raincoat. We’d wonder where they got the rubber hip boots that allowed them to brave the flooding streets. Did they just order them, or were they prepared, always waiting for this moment? Then the water became too deep. We didn’t see anyone for days. Then a single kayak. We turned ours gazes inside.
“There’s nobody I’d rather be marooned with than you,” I said.
“Not Brooke Shields? Not Tom Hanks? Not Ginger and/or Mary-Anne?”
“Not all the tea in China.”
“Not all the other fish in the sea?”
“You’re the only fish for me.”
She knit. I played video games. We slept together, but slowly grew out of sync. She fell asleep early while I read. Then I’d nap in the early afternoon. Sometimes, I’d awake and she’d be taking a bath. I’d knock, and she’d say wait a minute, but it was never a minute. The apartment always felt damp to me. There was a leak in the kitchen. Condensation formed on all the windows. My showers kept getting shorter, there was enough water in my life. But Maggie would soak in the cooling water.
I washed the dishes. I swept the floor. I fixed the wobbly leg on the coffee table. She soaked. I sang songs sitting with my back at the door. She soaked. I washed the towels. Kept them in the dryer so they’d be so warm and fluffy when she emerged. I fell asleep.
I awoke to an empty bathroom. An open window. The rain had stopped, but it was too late. There was only the sea.