there's a large puddle again on the patio,
over by where the hose is,
you know the one, the puddle that is.
It's back because it rained last night.
First time this year.
The water is still kind of clear this morning,
the sun back out and all the plants blooming,
reaching up, looking refreshed.
Your sister's dog was drinking from it.
In a day or two it will turn brackish, dissipate,
be gone by the weekend.
But not today. Today it's here.
And you are not. You're in treatment.
You're doing great, even though you worry.
Even though you worry things are disappearing,
Like your dog. Like your boyhood.
But today, my boy, the puddle is back.
The water is pooled against the concrete wall
that borders the low side of the patio,
under the oak tree.
It comes back whenever it rains. Always.
Gary Campanella writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. His work has appeared in print and online publications, including Unfortunately, Charge Magazine, PikerPress, the 2021 Annual, and Silver Birch Press. He is Editor of the Muleskinner Journal. He lives in Los Angeles.
Rain Returns to LA
low wet clouds sponge against the hills
across this valley, my valley,
turn headlights, traffic lights,
yellow leaves in the park iridescent, highlighted,
the trees sounding nervous as the wind rises up,
meets the clouds spilling down from the hills,
the sky invading the park,
squirrels scurry, coyotes hide,
the homeless guy who lives
at the edge of the park,
where I walk, unworried, watching,
is gathering things, his things, other things,
a large piece of blue plastic,
a tote bag left beneath a picnic table,
canvas cream with a red stripe,
as the first raindrops plop
fat and heavy and cold,
as if exploring, scouting the ground
in the agitated air, the thirsty grasses,
this town that's had no rain for almost a year,
then gives way to a steady drizzle,
to lower clouds falling across the valley,
the rain turning steady, heavy, vertical,
making all the noise.
Leaning forward, awake in dark hours,
Cold winds push at steadfast trees, at me,
Spray dander and seed, and bits of vegetation
Across resting pavement,
House lights finally simmered down,
Troubles sent to dream time,
To dream timers dreaming among us,
Even here, on my street, even now,
Swirling around rooftops and windows,
Creeping around dewy grasses and still warm tires.
I walk with waxy clouds, waning moon,
Cloaked in the dream-coated wind,
My footfalls alerting no ears,
Even with rabbit or dog,
Even with dream time coyote.
And like always, really,
Whatever is magical in the world,
Whatever sings and draws wonder,
Draws me now to the wind and the road,
Walks with me as I turn, and turn slowly
So as not to disturb.
Though in truth I want to disturb.
I want to knock on every door,
Wake my sleepy neighbors
From their languorous dreams of what was,
Wave my hands like finches taking flight,
Offer bits of bread, sweet tea,
Tell them I’m sorry for all the sorrows,
Tell them everything is fine,
Tell them that this is where they are,
This wondrous place, in this heady wind,
Sing with them a remembrance for tomorrow,
Offer as truth the lumbering flight of the heron,
The letter in the mail from a faraway friend,
The soft embrace when touch is not expected.