The mind can sure play tricks on you! I remember years ago, when we lived in Miami during high school, my brother and I once saw a rainstorm three blocks away, moving in our direction like a forest fire or a line of attacking soldiers. We decided to run as fast as we could away from the oncoming storm. We were able to stay dry for about three long blocks before the rain caught up to us. At the first thud of the heavy drops on our shoulders, we both stopped and stood there like two fools in the rain, laughing and splashing. I wrote a poem about the experience that Slant published a few years back. I also used the incident in my novel, The Brothers Silver, set for release by Owl Canyon Press in June.
What a shock then, to read recently in a personal journal from decades ago that it was not my younger brother with whom I tried to outrun rain, but with my friend who lived across the street from us and ran second seed on our high school’s cross-country team. I could have sworn it was my brother! I have to believe that I have mangled other cherished memories. Fortunately, poetry and novels are both fictional, so I don’t have to change anything in either work. Art remains eternal, as Schiller once noted. But my memory is now short one happy time with my brother, who passed away at a young age almost twenty years ago.
In Coral Gables with my brother,
together we saw it
down the street about a mile away,
headed towards us,
a dark, obese leviathan of cloud,
its teardrops pouring on the city,
heavy waterfall of rain
as packed as dirt against a grave,
moving quickly our direction,
murmuring like a banshee folding clothes.
Together we had the same thought:
try to outrun it as long as we could.
Together we sprinted, listening behind us,
hearing rainstorm’s ever-growing roar
as it plunged the cars and houses
into mesmerizing chutes of water
splashing at the surface of the street,
bouncing up and down like jumping jacks,
settling into potholes,
pooling into flashing floods,
until the pounding grew so loud
we knew it was about to overtake us.
Together we stopped,
let our arms go slack
and felt the rush of tepid water
drench us like a benediction.
Published in Slant #31 (May 2017)