We stagger out drunkly, my neighbors and I,
startled from revery by the bass drums of heaven,
a trillion ecstatic splat-drops
denuding our wondering faces
all around the neighborhood.
These are three:
the rain that annoints wisened kings
the rain for children’s innocent druidic dances
and this rain –
a laughing hammer slaying old and young the same.
A man of the country from downstreet
insists it was some lightning-toothed devil
beating his wife.
You could hear him, said his lazy dark drawl,
in the rasping whiskey growl of the thunder.
That damned devil, out to ruin my new tennis shoes.
Perhaps, and perhaps – demons and djinns
are not to be taken lightly.
Yet the powers of hell (so I have been taught)
are all deceit and perversion, flies and slithering things.
Lucifer might dwell in fogs and muggy summer twilights,
but this cloudburst is a solid, sure promise:
“There is indeed milk and honey flowing
like candy-wrappers and floodwaters
in the land beyond the glutted river.”