Rain on the Streets

Water weeps like Neptune

watching a sad movie,

 

over the sides

of my claw-foot tub,

 

and gathers underneath me. 

 

I am sleeping

like a fish

in a stream. 

 

The universe is in a big hurry. 

 

No time to light a cigarette 

and smoke the tobacco

of a small worry. 

 

Only the big worries will do.  

 

In a dream

within a dream,

 

the furnace of the sun 

streams through a prism,

 

and unfolds into a fan of color. 

 

Children who have been jumping 

up and down on a purple couch

 

stop to watch

jets fly into 

the reflections 

 

of office building windows.  

 

Who were the two

who held hands before leaping. 

 

One compassionate act

before the end

of choices. 

 

Meanwhile, years later

a dictator conducts speedy trials.

 

He rounds up 

the poets, priests and whores

just like the bygone days.

 

In a cement building,

blood is washed into the drains. 

 

Gray faces vote unanimously

for the shirtless poser

who rides a white horse. 

 

How can one understand 

a mother’s veiled pride:

 

for a subway station which glistens 

like a work of art;

 

for the traditional marching music

which stirs in the breast;

 

for the fresh alcohol made 

from old potatoes;

 

for the orthodox incense 

which envelops

the alter boys,

 

for a strongman’s hand which pulls hate

from the deepest graves,

 

for rain on the streets 

which are clean once again. 

Peter Coe Verbica grew up on a commercial cattle ranch in Northern California. He obtained a BA and JD from Santa Clara University and an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is married and has four daughters.

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