Poetry & Prose

Weeping, Showering, and Other Types of Rain

Art by Helen Shen

You stand in the middle of the street,
it is a rainy day today,
but not the “tickle-your-face” kind of drizzle
wake up in the morning to a quiet house because mom is still sleeping
jokes said too many times, yet the whole family still finds them funny
a chorus filled with full belly chuckles of uncles
and dangly earring giggles of aunts
the many, many visits not made yet
the little dew drops on your black dress that doesn’t quite fit right

Not the “jeans a shade darker” kind of pour either,
text messages that read “I’m going to bed. Long day”
sent at 5:47pm, the closed shut door
the tossing and turning (and weeping) heard behind it
the “I only got 4 hours of sleep last night, how about you?”
the sudden stop of conversation when a non-grown-up
entered the room yet everywhere was the room
so you learned to act clueless and stay in the corner
where were the jokes? where were the laughs?
you couldn’t find them anymore
the wet tissues on the floor near your black shoes that you never really liked

No, today is the “stop and let the rain fall all over your body” kind of shower
full drops dripping down your face, not ticklish but soothing
rain spotted jeans though they’re still their original shade
still across the hall is a closed door,
though every so often it is left slightly open
but you know better, because February is a bad month
the crowd that looked like a raven’s wing
the wood you can’t even remember the color of
the sound of weeping children who have lost a parent,
loud and confused, the black tights that caught a snag this morning,
but you didn’t have enough time to change
the tights that don’t keep your legs dry

After getting out of the car today, you stop
you don’t run inside like mom does
because today it is raining,
not the “tickle-on-your-face” kind of drizzle
not the “jeans a shade darker” kind of pour either
no, today is the “stop and let the rain fall all over your body”
kind of shower
the kind that can wash away anything for a couple minutes
the kind that happens before the storm

The house is never quiet anymore
the child continues to weep—
I mean mom gets no sleep
and you, small and freshly 14
are left as the stand-in parent of all,
who just wants to stand in the rain
and let it wash away the black dress with dewdrops,
the black shoes near the tissues, the black tights with the run
down the leg, the raven wing crowd, the box made out of the wood
you can’t remember the color of, the stone you have never seen
because the last time you were there it was a hole instead,
the hushed whispers of adults, the 12-pack of tacos
your uncles bought as a distraction, the hastily wiped tears,
the too warm, mushy skin turned to the too cold, hard forehead
the moment when you and mom switched places,
you were now the “it’s okay, it’ll get better,”
the hands who reached out, the warm embrace offered,
the soothing rubs on the back

It is raining today
and a girl stands in the middle of the street
letting the water fall all over her,
across the street
the neighbors are listening to the forecast:
“there is a storm coming later this week” the weatherperson says
but as for right now,
it continues to shower
and the girl continues to stand