“To a Nephew (Not Yet One Year Old)” by Diamond Irwin

You didn’t have words to explain
the rain then—why it gave in
to gravity or threaded itself into
lace-like patterns. The cars
driving past us were boats
built for dry asphalt, not mornings
wrapped in wet ash.

It’s been months since we saw
that rain. You were sitting on my
knees; I was sitting on my father’s porch,
the planks painted red.
I pointed to neighbors and strangers
shielded by broken umbrellas,
guessing how many miles they had
walked. I counted miles on your
fingers and made you smile.

Where you are now, you’re being
raised on rain. Every day, it spawns
from clouds that’re sick of lightning. I
imagine your neck moving, your head not
yet welcoming memories of me.
Only the raindrops, held together
in a series of pressures and bands,
hold you in an easy trance.

They’ll keep following you,
hovering just to
hang off your still
wordless lips. Solid strips
of rain will stop to travel
inside your ears and
remind you of the bearing of
their infinite, ever-larger course.


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