Poetry 2014 / Volume 45

Absolutely, Positively 4th Street — Brenda Yates

Imminent rain              I didn’t believe in        finds me

walking down 4th     as the reluctant air

begins losing itself— it can’t quite

hold together        changing state         as surely as

faith       once it’s begun to let go.       Mist

anoints my skin   shrouds my hair   catches

in funnel-webs   spun     over

the shrubs     hedges     rosebushes,       beading

tiny necklaces    of no use to anyone,   not even

to the spiders   who built these webs,   wanting

to catch everything— spiders

now escaping  down tunnels           that twist

under leaves   like nets     and usually hold     until rain

or wind   lets up. Strands quiver     given a last tug,

tightening   fly or gnat food-stores

moored   at the end of slack rope.       Drizzle,

and autumn roses   silk webs   green leaves     my aging skin

and damp hair—glow   or is it shine?   no

call it…a sheen     but that word too is

deeply rooted   implies likeness to God— radiance always does.

Now rain begins steady   down     and light can’t be caught

pouring,     violent

on petal     leaf       webs

that here and there   break in the storm     sending provisions

swinging   flying   out over the sidewalk     where a worm

that had been dry     slickens enough

to rise and leap   back to the edge

of dusty dirt still   splashing up.   Everything is soaked

when it stops.     Air gathers itself again.   The worm disappears.

Spiders emerge   begin repairs.

            A cat   comes out of a shrub

next to foliage I’ve ducked under,   sits on the wet sidewalk

as though he’d always been there— and didn’t mind rain.

He ignores the roses   still nodding mistily,

roses indifferent to him   and to me

shaking off      the beautiful glisten           of cobwebs.

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