Rain Song

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)
More Poems by Khaled Mattawa