It is raining here.

On my neighbor’s fire escape

geraniums are set out

in their brick-clay pots,

along with the mop,

old dishrags, and a cracked

enamel bowl for the dog.

I think of you out there

on the sandy edge of things,

rain strafing the beach,

the white maturity

of bones and broken shells,

and little tin shovels and cars

rusting under the house.

And between us there is — what?

Love and constraint,

conditions, conditions,

and several hundred miles

of billboards, filling-stations,

and little dripping gardens.

The fir tree full of whipsers,

trinkets of water,

the bob, duck, and release

of the weighted rose,

life in the freshened stones.

(They used to say that rain

is good for growing boys,

and once I stood out in it

hoping to rise a foot.

The biggest drops fattened

on the gutters under the eaves,

sidled along the slant,

picked up speed, let go,

and met their dooms in a “plock”

beside my gleaming shins.

I must have been near the size

of your older son.)

Yesterday was nice.

I took my boys to the park.

We played Ogre on the grass.

I am, of course, the Ogre,

and invariably get killed.

Merciless and barefooted,

they sneak up from behind

and they let me have it.

O my dear, my dear,

today the rain pummels

the sour geraniums

and darkens the grey pilings

of your house, built upon sand.

And both of us, full grown,

have weathered a long year.

Perhaps your casual glance

will settle from time to time

on the sea’s travelling muscles

that flex and rolls their strength

under its rain-pocked skin.

And you’ll see where  the salt winds

have blown bare the seaward side

of the berry bushes,

and will notice

the faint, fresh

smell of iodine.

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