After A Rain

I noticed the ground never felt a drop.
The dictionary has a word to describe that phenomena
but I am at a loss for its first syllable.

I wondered if the parched vegetation
found this funny and laughed
with the reassembling clouds.

Heat rose from the granite.
It bent the air and formed its own
dry rainbows with dust.

It is silly of me to bicycle old US highways
across the continental divide
under such conditions,

but nothing much will change
until next month and I wish
to be home in Albuquerque come Tuesday.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Plateau

In the desert
you smell rain storms

before they clear
the horizon.

It is the salt tinged
taste of hope.

It is magpies
bending in the heat.

My twisted heart
straightens in sage thick air.

Juniper snips
the bindings of time.

I dive into a cloud’s shadow
and swim.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Redemption Story

Forlorn in the feeling his god forsook him,
Paul sprints through four beers,
then muddles through five more.

He keeps his eye on the bathroom door
as if his god will return from taking a piss
and sidle up next to him, suggest a game of foosball.

Paul looks through the window to old glory across the street.
At this hour, in a rain storm, the flag looks much bedraggled.
So much so, god’s will seems to have abandoned it.

He exits. He sits on the street curb between parked cars.
The gutter water washes a drugstore bag to his feet.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap.

Paul strips. He starts washing with gutter water.
The rainwater rinses his body. He raises his head,
mouth open for the rainwater to rinse his mouth.

The energy to replace his clothes on his body is absent.
He sits on the curb between two parked cars.

A commotion in the bar’s alley jumps him.
He stands and sparks to the brick building corner
and peers down the sodden alley.

Three men attack a woman and rip her clothes.
Her teeth gleam in the narrow light.
The street lamp bends around the corner into the alley.

Stark naked, Paul stands in the alley.
He jumps up and down screaming, splashing a puddle.
He makes ape sounds. He makes elephant sounds.

In his loudest voice, he trumpets I Sing the Body Electric.
A flash blinds everyone in the alley.
An instantaneous boom deafens everyone in the alley.

Some bricks fall from the top of the building.
Paul feels his god has his back.
He picks up a fallen brick and advances on the three men.

The stunned men exit stage right,
leave the woman behind scared, but unharmed,
though soaked through to the gooseflesh skin.

Paul returns to his clothes at the curb, retrieves them.
The rain splashes his naked walk home. The woman
authors a cursive signature on his back with her eyes.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Retractable

Paul rocked back and forth upon the porch glider.
A lap dog occupied his lap with quiet contentment
as Paul stroked her back.
Dora ignored the kitchen’s stack of dishes.
She typed new species into existence
to replace those who went extinct this year.
Paul watched the rain exit the downspout,
instead of looking through the silvery rain curtain
two arm-lengths before his face.
As the puddles rose through the grass,
he relayed his Noah’s Ark concerns through the kitchen window.
Dora knew better than to let Paul’s fantastical worries
affect her outline of new tiny creatures,
especially the one who seeks out
splintered oak bark exposed at dangling branches.
Paul watched the rain gush a river from the downspout
and its stream disturb the splash dotted puddle-mergers
that now covered all the grass in his normally well manicured yard.
Dora let the rain continue another five minutes
before flicking a kitchen light switch,
which parted the clouds for the sun to shine
in about half the time Milwaukee’s Miller Park roof opens or closes.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney