Overcast Sky

I am not here, imagining my lover, imagining the feel of her legs under the sheets, or listening to the radio, “Riders on the Storm,” lights out, nighttime, and outside the cars going by in a drizzle—sssssshshshhhhh. Say it! Sssssshshshhhhh. I should be sitting at a typewriter writing a novel with all those s’s, not in bed. No sleeping in a drizzle, not in a drizzle! Where do the thoughts go? Not alone and not in bed. Where would I be in a drizzle? I would be anywhere in the same night, smiling or no not smiling, just let those smiles relax, everything is the same—those smiles are tokens, sometimes they’re just pretend, but in this night there is no pretend, except that I am not here. I am not in my bed, I am elsewhere in the same night smelling the rain, looking up into streetlight at the drops drifting down with little sparkles in them, the sky blue and hazy, over a roof, yellow and hazy, black black black black black, rhododendron next to a fence, glistening, sidewalk, gutter streets to and fro and up and down, somewhere the smell of a dog, asphalt running with the drizzled wetness, grass in the sidewalk wet, shadows black and wet, alley gravel smell of wet, house on the corner, with a light at a window, two stories, wet roof, black, wet car, wet lawn, wet, wet, wet. From here to there and wet between. Frogs singing. This is the town and it is wet. A car goes by on the next street, headlights showing drizzle. You can see it’s not a warm bed and if there is an imagination of my lover then she is beside me in her raincoat and hat, wet and beside me. It’s so wet! Yes, she is beside me and side by side we look at the light in the wet town. Sometimes it can be so wet. Face to face we look at each other’s wet faces in the streetlight and smile smiles of no pretend. Love is like that but this doesn’t have to be love, it is just two people on a street for no good reason in the middle of the night in a drizzle. You could be here, too, the three of us. One of us will kiss you on the cheek. It’s so clean, with wet faces, black raincoats, a life of air, of rainwater, and the wet earth-smell from under the houses and under the flowers in the yards. Everywhere the hish of the rain. Rain drips from the eaves, it is in the mud, earth, from which food grows, and the intense green of lawns in streetlight, in drizzle, young and clean. There is no question. No need to wonder. Just the three of us in the same night. You could want no more. And you never would have thought to ask. Sssssshshshhhh. Sssssshshshhhhhh.

24 May 1981