I told my mother not to worry and she never did, as mothers do, because these were big summer drops and our toes in the sand digging in deeper and deeper still. Her hemp sandals stayed at the bottom of the dunes, underneath a tree with her bag and leather journal, my shirt, too. The dunes dropped off quick on the other side, steep into the forest and we had rolled down hours before and spent the whole evening feeling the sand cool under us as the sun went down. Now it rained and rained more and we crept closer to the tree trunks to, well, not to stay dry, we certainly weren’t that, and not warm, as the drops were bath water, but we clang to the trunks none the less. The dune was easier to climb then now that the water had stiffened the sand some and we made our way up to the top with ease. She spread out her arms wide and I watched her and the lake as the waves picked up with the wind.
Posts Tagged ‘rain’
When it rains at night, I wake up to my sister across from me in bed. She is usually awake and staring and I tell her to go back to her room and sleep. She tells me that it is too noisy in her room, can’t she just stay in mine? It happens every time now, every time it rains.
“Where do you think mom is?” she wants to know.
“Out,” I say.
“It’s late, when is she coming home?”
“When you go back to sleep.”
“Shouldn’t she be home?”
My sister goes on like this until I’m up and now I’m up. She asks me to teach her another card trick. So far, I’ve taught her the Two Card Flight, the Burning Rush, the Cardeenie Single, and Flipping Aces. I went through each one step by step and she’ll ask me to do it again and again and she’ll never learn them. It’s the process, I guess.
Mattie comes into join us and I don’t like when he gets junk in his eyes and he doesn’t like it when I clean it out. He buries his head in my sister’s lap and she pets his head and looks up at me. ”At least you can see me clearly now, can’t you?” I say and he looks away.
Sometimes on rainy days Mattie hides in my bed just before.
There’s a tree in the courtyard that my sister is afraid of when it’s windy because it scrapes against her window and she says it sounds like ghosts are knocking. I ask her Why not vampires? She shrugs. She likes the tree though, when we are outside. We used to hang my GI-Joes from the branches and she would throw them around the big ones so that they would be tied up. She’d put her hands in her pockets and watch me climb the tree. She’d say sorry and do it again.
I got the impression she always meant it though, the apology.
“Do you want to go to the tree house?” she asks me.
“In this weather? I haven’t taught you the card trick yet.”
“Please? We can look for mom getting home.”
Dad’s old treehouse he built just before he was gone. It sits out there and it is not quite finished and I don’t know if it is still safe. But I say that we can go and my sister gets her rain boots on.
We run outside the raindrops come down hard and hit my sister’s back. I watch them bounce off between her shoulder blades, hunched over. She runs and splashes me through each puddle and looks back and mouths Sorry to me and I just push her on to keep running.
We climb the ladder and I tell her Careful not to slip and Mattie is barking at the backdoor. I wave for him to come over and he runs out with his tongue out, his hair flopping and then matted down, wet. Under the tree, I grab him between his legs and my finger falls to the part on the side of him that hair doesn’t grow from when my sister hit him with a stick playing fetch. She cried and it was Mattie who consoled her, bleeding. I hold him in one arm and climb up.
In the tree house, the rain is loud and it makes it difficult to talk. Mattie wags over to my sister and they hug, both wet and now wetter. The branches rub up against the walls and in big gusts, I’m afraid that they might break through. My sister takes a peek out the door and into the storm and says, “I don’t see mom.” Mattie puts his head on her lap.
I walk over to one of the walls to see if it’ll hold and I put my hand on it and it feels wet and shaky. I try to push one of the screws in that came out a little near the roof. I can’t quite get it. I turn to ask my sister and she is asleep on Mattie, looking at me, the rain coming down harder now and the street light goes out.
Posted in places, poetry, tagged accents, bench, cigarettes, fountain, hardwood floors, luggage, metro, morning, paris, park, pigeon, rain, scooters, springtime, sun, wine on March 30, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
last night’s wine bottle
under the bench.
bright paris springtime sun
open windows top floor
ten foot shadows on hardwood.
Scooters upon scooters
upon scooters upon
scooters upon scooters
upon scooters upon
scooters parked outside
the Japanese restaurant.
Accents down the
Cigarettes upon cigarettes
upon cigarettes upon
cigarettes upon cigarettes
upon cigarettes upon
cigarettes piled up
next to the sewege grate
after the rain.
The paint on the side of the barn up on the hill was chipping badly and I leaned against it to escape as the rain came down. I had just run up the hill, up from the fields and my hair was soaked now and I watched the rain come down hard across the valley. These were big summer drops. The sky went on far and was covered with grey until a splash of blue on the horizon. I wiped the water from my face with my shirtsleeve, protected now underneath the barn overhang. I watched the stream past beyond the fields pick up and run faster with the rain. I caught my breath and heard only the rain hitting the roof and in the fields. It had been four months since my father’s death, six since my mother’s.
Abby came running out of the house getting wet to join me. She wore cut-offs showing long tanned legs and a gauzy shirt that clung to her skin in the rain. Her hair was pinned up and the loose parts were wet to her face. She came next to me, leaned against the barn wall too, and tried to blow the hair off her face, which did not work and looked at me and let out a quiet smile.
“Nice stems,” I said.
“This is where they met,” I said. “My parents.”
“I know,” she said. “Wasn’t it a pig farm?”
“Yes. But no more pigs now.”
“I hadn’t seen any.” She moved closer, leaned her head against my shoulder.
“Vegetables… Did you see some of those?”
“Yeah. I saw some of those.”
“You see that stream just beyond the trees,” I pointed. “My parents said they went skinny dipping there and often.”
“I was wondering when you were going to ask me,” she said.
Her sandals off, she charged down the muddy hill, her bare feet splashing through puddles toward the stream.
“Wait!” I yelled out, “It’s dangerous… It’s….” Dammit. I ran after her. She tossed off her shirt and I followed suit. I kicked my shoes off under a tree and watched her jump in, feet first, her willowy arms swinging overhead drawing her shoulder blades together and then apart, her skin already wet from rain. She disappeared under the water, her head popping up, her shoulders, bare, and just high enough to reveal her collarbones above the surface. She looked up to me and I stared for a moment and then jumped in after her. I swam toward her and the current took us both downstream. I caught up and brought her body to mine, her legs wrapped around me. The water was warm and comfortable and moving quickly and we kissed and my hand held her tight on the small of her back and she dropped her head back to feel the rain and down stream we went locked together, the inside of her thighs resting on my hip bones.
We went like this and entire summers of my life had not lasted as long as this one dive.
After, in the house, drying off, Abby put on a Spanish guitar record and we played a game of chess, both wrapped in towels.
“This was my pops’ board,” I said.
“Of course it was,” she said.
We sat staring at the board and at each other.
“When was the last time you were here?” she asked.
“Must’ve been fifteen or so years back. Our parents took my sister and me on a road trip through some of their old spots.”
My eyes followed the exposed beams on the ceiling to the window. You could feel the moisture come in from outside, cooling the earth, a much needed soaking my mother used to say. The farmhouse had been around for quite some time but had switched hands periodically. The owners told me they found what they kept calling “archives” in the cellar of the house. There were old photos and letters dating back to the late 1800s. They had not had the place too long, only a decade or so, but were generous to share it with us when we arrived with our story. They asked us questions. I showed them pictures of the pig farm back in the sixties and they asked for copies. I told them I would send them on over after we got back. I told them when it was a pig farm, they used to get young people up as interns to help get some energy into the place, energy they did not have to pay too much. They let them eat the food, have a bed, and enjoy the big skies.
The family now says they keep it rather local, “market farm” they kept calling it, though they do sell the extra eggs to a restaurant upstate. He drives them up himself, he told me, every Sunday.
They seemed to like having visitors though, invited us to stay as long as we would like. They were downstairs now, leaving us some privacy.
“We should go down soon and help with dinner,” Abby said.
“Did you see the table down there? He told me he made it out of an old barn door, cleaned it off, fixed it up, and put it in the dining room. We should do something like that.”
“We will,” she said taking my rook.
“My parents always told this story about how they needed to move one of the bigger pigs from one pen to another and it became my pops’ job. But this pig was ornery, they said, weighed more than a ton, and wouldn’t budge without a fight. My dad wrestled him around the pen all day until finally he was able to push the pig through the gate and shut it behind.”
“Tough guy, your dad.”
“Just wait, that night, my mom wakes up to my pops kicking her out of bed. She tries to wake him. Doesn’t work. He kicks her so hard she falls straight out of bed. My pops wakes up to my mom hitting the floor. ‘What are you doing?’ she says and he should have just apologized there. But no, he tries to explain himself. ‘I thought you were the pig,’ he says.”
Abby laughed, took my knight. “Mate in two,” she said, took off the towel from around her shoulders, put a t-shirt back on, and walked over to the mirror to put her earrings in.
“We should head down,” she said.
I came behind her and hold her hipbones and we made eye contact in the mirror. She turned her head and kissed my neck.
“We gotta figure out what door to use for our table,” she said and left the room and I had the thought that we had seen a lot of doors open together. I walked over to the window and watched the rain fall once more. It came down, feeding the earth, cleansing away the rest into the stream, flowing down and out to who-knows-where. And there I was, new owners, old creaky floor, new table made out of the door my pops once opened from one pen to another, piling now my food and my story on top of theirs.
It is just those same beams kept a roof over their heads, and now, it kept a roof over Abby’s.