All my rains
by Rose Mary Boehm
Warm rain in the Caribbean,
giant bathtub abruptly
turned over by a tropical giant.
Rain that hurts. Rain that washes
away topsoil, flattening crab claw,
golden trumpet and scorpion orchid,
leaving the waxrose gasping for air,
fills all dents in the hotel patios.
Tennis courts become square lakes
of reddish, sandy mud. Every passing
car’s a drencher. Take off your sandals.
Let your feet transmit the moment
when a god created water and land.
A stifling thirty-eight degrees in the shade,
sabotaged for a brief, exulted moment,
soon reclaims its protagonism.
A dry spell on the Castilian plateau. Earth
crust breaks like freshly baked bread. All greens
from spring and early summer dusted ashen
by hot winds. The sky turns a metallic grey,
eucalyptus whisper urgent messages to
the poplars who bow in acquiescence.
Fat drops explode on the patio roof, cut through the
pines, leave welts on the soil. Soon the rains break.
Petrichor from wounded earth.
Squishing from the soggy wooden terrace
to the overflowing frog pond. Grasses bend
under the weight of the constant drizzle
of an English summer. Brushing past the dripping
hollyhock, it shakes its droplets onto my hair.
Peony’s heads hang low and heavy, the song thrush
shelters in the blackthorn. The shed’s rusted
door hinges whine. From my poisonous-orange
slicker dried earth from last year is washing off.
Into sudden silence the song thrush trills
an acknowledgement of a forgotten afternoon sun.
A small fishing village in the north of France.
Night and rain fall on roofs and streets, boots slip
through pools growing in importance between broken
asphalt and smooth cobblestones, the old
buildings hiding behind curtains of cold water.
We were caught by surprise on the way back
to the hotel, a couple of lonely figures hesitating where
streetlights seemed to transform puddles into lakes.
It never rains in Lima’s coastal desert. Humidity
ranges from 85 to 95 percent. Despite the lack
of water falling from the skies we may
well develop gills. In our wardrobes
mushrooms grow on shoes.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Since I have lived in so many places, now—towards the last part of my life—I am beginning to recollect where I’ve been and what impressed me most. Often it’s people who tie you to a place, sometimes its actual beauty. But one of the things I remember are the rains. I tried to express this in my poem.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The sky over Lima, Peru, that promises rain but hardly ever delivers. Photo by the author.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and working in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). Her fourth poetry collection, The Rain Girl, was published by Chaffinch Press in August 2020.