Kenyatta JP García

RAIN

Rain,
It’s strumming down
     the shingles
    as a celestial guiro.
We know this sound Jibaro,
    this and the goat’s toes
    and the splashing
        castanets.
Gitano,
    it sounds like the first
        day of exile.
It plucks as we did
those strings
    when we knew
    that the poets were 
        disappeared 
    forever.
Sephardito,
it’s the same
    knock
heard for centuries
    back to the reason
    for Passover.

But,
It’s a change from the snow
    of troikas
    and Cossacks,
It’s a change 
    from the winds
        that filled 
            every sail
from Agamemnon
    to the Conquistadors
to under wing 
of stukkas 
to the whistling caverns,
    alleys
        and berms.
Sopranos to the bass
    of explosions.
Rain,
    was it ever in Eden?
Only in the Exodus
    the first exodus?
But it’s a change 
        from the arid
the aridity 
that turns one 
    to dance
even when 
they can hear 
        the hooves
    and rifles
leaving from cities back east
bound for them.

But it’s also
    the humidity
    the home of mosquito
        and malaria
    and the weapon
    of those
        certain places
            where no 
                conqueror won.
Those swamps
        and jungles
    left to
        animal
        and aborigine-
Right Jibaro?
    Hermanx under plantain leaves
    Beside yucca roots
        and cane.
Hermanx run off
    for survival-
    for freedom-
        for the homeland.
Hermanx who welcomed rain
    just as those
        on mountaintop
    prayed for landslides
        to stop the pursuers
And to make each of their footsteps
                unsure.
Rain,
    Gitano,
        it’s never enough
            to extinguish
                those fires
    we made
    to eat
    to stay warm
        to signal our kin
Our family
    on Bedouin trail,
        in moccasins,
            in the rice paddy 
Our clan who know
        walls are worthless
    and legacy
    is a story 
        which only grows
            stronger.
Sephardi,
    There’s a language
        as rain
    which keeps coming
        to sink
Noah
    and his chosen animals.
It keeps coming
    for those without boats
to drown 
those who do.
It’s in the Highlands
    and in the notes
        passed cell to cell.
It’s on the street corner
    and it’s more song 
    than the drums,
fife and strings.

And Moro,
    rain washes
        your blood
    through it all
so you can suffer
    same as you conquered.
Rain washes
    your script
        away,
    takes the faces
        off coins
    but never turns copper skin
        to green
Never makes the swarthy
            and olive
         welcome
    but free,
at liberty 
    to let the rain
        wash the grease 
            away,
    the cooking oil,
        the mechanic’s fuel,
            the lubricants
                of guns,
    the sweat
        of wearing
            the wrong color
    collar,
Makes the hair 
    momentarily 
straight
    as those dashes 
        between the dots
used to surrender
    and plead
        for help
and also deceive.
Straight as fibers
    crossing on the loom,
As arrows
    and oars.
Rain, it erodes mortar and
    takes foundation
        from the houses
    we wish to forget.
It’s the ocean
    that’s never angry 
        with us.  

Kenyatta JP García

Kenyatta JP García is the author of Slow Living (West Vine Press), This Sentimental Education and Enter the After-Garde.

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