Before the Monsoon Rain
It will come whether we are prepared or not
like a locomotive running off the tracks
crashing through the timbers of stanchions.
So I climb an aluminum ladder to the roof;
creakily kneel to clean the drains
of accumulations of leaves and twigs
and a quarter inch of topsoil
blown from distant farms by winter winds.
So much of what I scrape away here
is like the detritus of the past:
not only useless but dangerous
clogging the arteries of this our only house.
From here I can look out
to the few remaining lawns of neighbors
the failing grocery
the residential towers which replaced family homes
when parents grew too old, children sold
and developers did what developers do.
In a week or so the streets will be rivers in the late afternoon
backyard trash, empty plastic jugs
all the refuse of domesticity
flowing in the turgid brown waters to some far-off sea.
Then sudden silence,
a slow withdrawing of the waters,
like the sound of the earth being born again
in some dramatic audio book about Noah.
We will gather what can be rescued from the mold and mud.
We will open doors and windows to the healing sun.
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