Rain Song

By Khaled Mattawa b. 1964 Khaled Mattawa

After Al-Sayyah

             The radio blares “Dialogue of Souls,”
and the woman who hated clouds
                          watches the sky.
             Where is the sea now? she asks.
Where is it from here?
                          What is its name?—
             this rain on a morning ride to school,
winter, my seventh year,
                          my father driving
             through rain, his eyes fixed on a world
of credit and debt. On the
                          radio, devotion to
             the lifter of harm from those who despair,
             knower of secrets with the knowledge of certainty.
Not even the anguish of those
                          years, the heavy
             traffic, cold and wind could have
touched me. I was certain the palm
                          holding me would be
             struck again. Chance allows
for that and for stars to throb
                          in reachable depths.
             Filled with grief bordering happiness,
I didn’t care if I was safe,
                          whether the storm
             was over, only that it came, the slash
of lightning, the groaning sky,
                          and the storms we made,
             how rain stripped everything of urgency,
how to the lifter of harm rise
             those who despair.

Khaled Mattawa, "Rain Song" from Zodiac of Echoes. Copyright © 2003 by Khaled Mattawa.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press,  www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Zodiac of Echoes (Copper Canyon Press, 2003)

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Poet Khaled Mattawa b. 1964


Subjects Living, Youth, Coming of Age, Parenthood, Relationships, Activities, School & Learning, Nature, Weather

 Khaled  Mattawa


Born and raised in Benghazi, Libya, poet Khaled Mattawa relocated to the United States as a teenager in 1979. He received an undergraduate degree in political science and economics from the University of Tennessee; an MA and an MFA from Indiana University, where he also won an award from the Academy of American Poets; and a PhD from Duke University.
Influenced by Milan Kundera and Federico García Lorca, as well as the Arab . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Youth, Coming of Age, Parenthood, Relationships, Activities, School & Learning, Nature, Weather


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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