Home > Poetry > Words Like Rain
Published: Mon Apr 15 1991
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Words Like Rain

You think the words light rain covers a field and when you close your
eyes for a second you are standing in a field, in the wet gray air, and
you feel the rain on your skin. When you say the words light rain covers
a field you pray that something will happen but nothing does because
nothing can. Light rain covers a field. In an apartment across the street
the woman is grating cheese for her salad: yellow pepper, tomato,
cucumber and purple cabbage sit sliced on red leaf lettuce in the teak
bowl. A cup of black coffee sits on the kitchen table. Her sister will come
over soon for dinner; they will eat and listen to music and talk. Outside
it’s getting cold and if you don’t have someplace you really want to be
you wish you did because it’s cold, suggesting the beginning of winter
in New England, suggesting that this winter, when you have to go
anywhere, the streets will trap you in a mouse-maze of painful cold,
suggesting that you will need to buy a sweater or two that you don’t
have the money for. You hope at least that you’ll get a phone call from
a friend who wants to talk for a long time, so that you can bring the
phone near the bed and get under the comforter and talk. Outside it’s
getting cold, colder than you would expect after such a warm after-
noon, when people were lying on the grass reading in the sun. Cars go
by in the street and as their headlights cross over you you think the
people driving are hurrying off to be somewhere warm. People step
out of the cold night into the supermarket. In front of the supermarket
a woman talks to a man and near them a dog is chained to a bicycle
rack. In the bar where you stop to get a slice of pizza to go one of the
two guys who own the used book store is watching basketball, talking
about basketball. Who wants to be fifty and no health insurance, no
family, no house; but it looks like that’s the way things are heading.

See what's inside AGNI 33

Joseph Lease received his MFA from Brown University and his PhD from Harvard. His poems have been published in Paris Review, Pequod, The Boston Review (featured by Robert Creeley), Boulevard, and elsewhere. He currently teaches writing at the California College of the Arts. (updated 6/2010)

Lease’s collection The Room was reviewed in AGNI 42 by Forrest Gander.

Lease’s collection Human Rights was reviewed in AGNI 51 by Jim Behrle.

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