The Lives of Rain
The old Chinese man
in the health food shop
at 98th and Broadway tells me
that the rain has many lives.
I don't understand what he means
but like the way it sounds.
I wonder if he tells everyone the
same thing or if this is something between
us, wonder if he fought any wars, killed
anyone, wonder if he ever fell in love,
lost a house, lost his accent, lost a wife or
a child in the rain, wonder if he calls for
the rain when he stirs his daily soup,
wonder what hides in his silk cloth-
rice, pictures, maybe memories of rain.
Rain he tells me, carries rumors of the dead,
of those with suitcases and epidemics.
Rain carries the memory of droughts,
of houses gone, rain like lovers
comes and goes, like soldiers go
and sometimes return to a life
no longer standing.
The Chinese man waits for me to ask
for more. I stand, outside is the rain-
who really knows how many lives to come.