Rodney Jones

They are like clouds on days
when there are no clouds or flat
characters in works of fiction.

One goes past them, knowing
that they stand near, breathing
but not fully vested, hovering

just shy of the third dimension,
traced lightly in pencil. That
they may have saved one once

†from childhood embarrassment
or cauterized an ideal with a kiss
in no way qualifies them

for perennial attention. Go past.
Turn the page with a decided swish.
But as they live, I vouch for them: †

the anonymous, the invisibleó
these who have lost everything.
For them the bombs are not real.

They believe only in history.
They have no impression
that they leave an impression.

Rain on Tin

Rodney Jones

If I ever get over the bodies of women, I am going to think of the rain
of waiting under the eaves of an old house
at that moment
when it takes a form like fog.
It makes the mountain vanish.
Then the smell of rain, which is the smell of the earth a plow turns up
only condensed and refined.
How many years since thunder rolled
and the nerves woke like secret agents under the skin.
Brazil is where I wanted to live.
The border is not far from here.
Lonely and grateful would be my way to end,
and something for the pain please,
a little purity to sand the rough edges,
a slow downpour from the dark ages,
a drizzle from the Pleistocene.
As I dream of the rainís long body
I will eliminate from mind all the qualities that rain deletes
and then I will be primed to study rainís power,
the first drops lightly hallowing
but now and again a great gallop of the horse of rain
or an explosion of orange-green light.
A simple radiance, it requires no discipline.
Before I knew women, I knew the lonely pleasure of rain.
The mist and then the clearing.
I will listen where the lightning thrills the rooster up a willow
and my whole life flowing
until I have no choice, only the rain
and I step into it.