• Finally morning. This loneliness
  • feels more ordinary in the light, more like my face
  • in the mirror. My daughter in the ER again.
  • Something she ate? Some freshener
  • someone spritzed in the air?
  • They’re trying to kill me, she says,
  • as though it’s a joke. Lucretius
  • got me through the night. He told me the world goes on
  • making and unmaking. Maybe it’s wrong
  • to think of better and worse.
  • There’s no one who can carry my fear
  • for a child who walks out the door
  • not knowing what will stop her breath.
  • The rain they say is coming
  • sails now over the Pacific in purplish nimbus clouds.
  • But it isn’t enough. Last year I watched
  • elephants encircle their young, shuffling
  • their massive legs without hurry, flaring
  • their great dusty ears. Once they drank
  • from the snowmelt of Kilimanjaro.
  • Now the mountain is bald. Lucretius knows
  • we’re just atoms combining and recombining:
  • stardust, flesh, grass. All night
  • I plastered my body to Janet,
  • breathing when she breathed. But her skin,
  • warm though it is, does after all, keep me out.
  • How tenuous it all is.
  • My daughter’s coming home next week.
  • She’ll bring the pink plaid suitcase we bought at Ross.
  • When she points it out to the escort
  • pushing her wheelchair, it will be easy
  • to spot on the carousel. I just want to touch her.

Ellen Bass is a well-known California poet and teacher of poetry. “Waiting for Rain” is from Like a Beggar, her new collection from Copper Canyon Press, 2014. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University, facilitates lots of poetry workshops in Northern California and environs, and lives in Santa Cruz.

More from SDReader


Sign in to comment

Join our newsletter list for
$5 off your next purchase
on our daily deal site, ReaderCity.com