Don’t Need a Weatherman

A storm rages outside;
trees flail their limbs:
tempestuous, yet oblivious,
the rain continues undeterred.
Safe inside, I watch
the storm from a distance.
The television weatherman
breathlessly tracks the violent
progress lurking
outside my window.
I don’t understand the rain
pelting my tomato plants;
the sky is dark, the clouds
impenetrable.  It comes
without comprehension.
The wind slashes the rain
down the street like whips
across the backs of dying
slaves.  Lightning explodes.
Thunder laughs low.
All the signs are present,
but I can’t read,
or won’t take the time
to sift through the bits
of information flowering
from air, then vanishing.
Now, there is a clue, and here
another, but any danger
it portends remains
unacknowledged by me.
From this window
I peer through the curtains
of water.  The drops fold
the light into itself,
reflecting finally
only darkness.
The television provides
a comforting glow
like the soft flicker
of  a candle flame.
I sit in this light
unable to see with any clarity
what is closest to me:
the ground is saturated,
the water rises up the bank.
The river washes dead cows
through the city’s streets.
Rats float by on the bodies
of drowning rats, fur glistening.
I stare unblinking into the dark.
I see nothing.
The ubiquitous is of no concern;
the mantis looks like a leaf
to the unsuspecting fly:
no danger in the commonplace.
The rain on the window
lulls me into deeper sleep.
Yet, even when awake
doing my best to pay
close attention, a mist settles
in, like a fog creeping
suddenly across the hills,
blurring all details
into a dull gray. 
The lines separating one
from the other, shake
then fragment before
they can be discerned.
When close, my hand
traces their shape lightly.
I can imagine the size
and the implications; yet,
when I step back in an effort
to take in the magnitude,
the insidiousness,
so easy to see in the minutia,
vanishes:  all is benign.
Am I too vague in my ramblings?
It is like walking through a fog,
no need for any umbrella, but
before too long your clothes
are soaked through; a chill
shakes your bones like chimes.
Wherever I turn, whatever
I see or hear, turns about
upon itself and laughs
through sharpened teeth.
I’d cry for fear, but for fear
I cannot add to the storm
serrating the air.
So I remain ignorant
to remain contented.
These things cannot be  – –
No, it is
only my imagination
caught in the allusions,
the centuries of fear
that have brought me to this:
cowering beneath my ignorance
afraid of the first signs of rain.
(Summer 1997, from “an ambiguous demarcation”)

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