the wettest season on record

The way that summer rained -

The whispered mentions --

The hardy guffaws + rolling thunder?

The way it came down from late

May to maybe early July ---

 

Wasn’t even funny.

 

We packed into Ida.

Into that dutiful, loyal

cantankerous wagon.

 

We were weeks

into the Wetness.

 

Conditioned to conditions

consistently confounding.

 

Prolonged periods of precipitation

once foreign to our anticipations.

To aspirations.

 

Still, that evening as we

unloaded from Ida, the wagon, and onto the skilleted asphalt,

I saw the sky turn tricks

the likes of which

This town had never seen.

No one. No how.

Never.

 

I saw—

she didn’t, for the asphalt

was enough

to hold her tired eyes—

the air stretch and run

marathons beyond the Pharmacy’s waterlogged marquee.

 

The Wettest Season on Record churned.

The Wettest Season on Record wailed.

The Wettest Season on Record swirled like distracted doodles during day school.

 

The Wettest Season on Record

marched on without much thought,

carrying a back-pocket match book, 

the Other-town girl’s number long worn off.

 

We were still yards from drug-lined halls.

Novice, bladeless skaters on warm, terraformed prairie.

Ant hills crushed, but only after permits

said Ida, the wagon, could take their spot.

 

She grew tired

of the asphalt below

so we looked to the pond above

Our sleepless heads.

 

The county carnival used to have a man. 

He ran dazzlingly small, invisible needles

through his back.

He would hang from small, invisible wires until someone

turned the lights off.

 

The pond hung like that.

Skin wrought precariously,

just follicles from collapsing.

 

And it stayed like that as

the three of us walked in.

 

They used to sell sarsaparilla in

opaque brown bottles, the glass heavy like the snapping cold

of the spices when they fell into our bodies.

No more.

Not since I stopped buying them.

 

The ceiling lurched to life and drowned the white coat in its humming whir.

My mouth swelled dry.

 

In the shadow of the marquee, she tossed away the empty package.

I wondered if she kept the instructions, but I never asked.

 

Ida, the wagon, creaked as

the two of us crawled in.

 

She started crying before the door closed.

They were little tears, nearly silent sprockets of salty translucence.

 

It was the only rain we had that day.