rice & rain
By Robin Gow
all the rain came down at once like a dropped bag
of aquarium pebbles. too much for the street to swallow:
all gravel & grit. i feel the saltwater rushing
in my mouth as i hit the shore — sand becoming rice.
the pot on the stove — put on the lid. we read the
back of the bag — bring the water to a boil — it
protests in the clouds. rainwater peeling open
car windows to fill the floor — make mobile your
lakes & the herons will come — don’t feed the birds rice.
my favorite summer storms are the ones
that come too fast. they remind me so much of myself:
gathering their gray hair in a bouquet to beat
against the highway. i think of the times the thunder
would toss geodes at the street until they cracked open,
about dad telling my brother & i to go upstairs
& shut the windows before the storm snuck inside.
the car prayed until it drove on water — ocean barreling
toward us like a great big whale: blueness open & mouth full
of salt. you ask if we should stir the rice & the water
hisses & spits. we often forget about the ghosts
who kneel in pots of water. there’s always a wooden spoon. i keep
mine in the glove box. taking it out, i park the car with
the four-ways on. other monsters slosh past.
we get out on the side of the road. kneeling i plunge
the spoon into the bank: chicken broth & rice.
rain warming our bodies until there’s no
mistaking us from the stove. i burn my feet getting
back into the car. our flesh turns chicken-white & tender.
somewhere in all of this i managed
to drive across the whole unknown ocean — the one
without a name that shows up only when it downpours.
makes tides that eat radar & sailors.
picks rice grains from her teeth.
the other side is not land, but soft rice steaming
& ready. our legs sink in. take a spoonful of me
before i drive home a second time. the sun emerging like
a quartered bell pepper. i’m thinking of
lying in a rain puddle with you & falling apart
into a palm full of cooked rice.