Again, the shape of the rain, or the space between rain, by which I mean the gap we think we see in the middle of things, in the places they connect or don’t. Again, my father on the phone when I call, how he speaks or doesn’t speak and I speak or don’t speak and both of us are waiting for something, waiting for the sensation of rain to come and relieve the nothing we can’t say. My father doesn’t call, he sits inside when it rains and the rain taps lightly on the jalousie windows and makes a sound like smoke, like a train coming to a stop, the rain of the tropics, a warm rain like the sky is a dog shaking out its puddle-soaked coat and again, his dogs sit with him, and he looks to the pack, counting and calling them, their names the names of our dead family: Paulie and Jerry and Moishe, and again, the space when he says them, the slow pause of his tongue finding its place in his mouth, and again the space when the dogs hear his call and choose to respond, or don’t choose if they are getting into the treats in the pantry or fighting in the kitchen over a ragged rope, and again the rain and the small space between, as big as a child or a man, and again the rain holds itself back for a moment as if deciding whether to allow touch before it relents, gives itself to the empty green lawns and vacant blue pools.
-- Meghan Sterling’s work has been nominated for 4 Pushcart Prizes in 2021 and has been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, Colorado Review, Idaho Review, Radar Poetry, The West Review, West Trestle Review, River Heron Review, SWIMM, Pinch Journal and many others. She is Associate Poetry Editor of the Maine Review. Her first full length collection These Few Seeds (Terrapin Books) came out in 2021. Her chapbook, Self Portrait with Ghosts of the Diaspora (Harbor Editions) will be out in 2023.