with thick strokes of ink.

In Portland, we are at the midway mark of our three months of unbroken sunshine. During June, July, and August, it’s warm and bright. Cloudless, hot sunny days and cooler nights that feel like high desert. I moved here chasing the rain: the lush mossy green and perpetual misty damp of the other 9 months of the year. Fog is my familiar, and the relentless sunshine tends to make me feel disoriented as summer wears on.

This morning when I woke up, it felt cooler than usual in my apartment. I turned off all the fans and enjoyed the quiet. Then, over breakfast, I looked out the window and it had started to rain. Not a vague mist, but a proper silent soaking downpour. It kept up for at least two hours, and it was absolute heaven. The smell of it, the sound of it, the light of a rainy day. I know it’s months until autumn, still, but I felt something prickle and unfurl inside me at the memory of it.

Rain

BY KAZIM ALI

With thick strokes of ink the sky fills with rain.
Pretending to run for cover but secretly praying for more rain.
Over the echo of the water, I hear a voice saying my name.
No one in the city moves under the quick sightless rain.
The pages of my notebook soak, then curl. I’ve written:
“Yogis opened their mouths for hours to drink the rain.”
The sky is a bowl of dark water, rinsing your face.
The window trembles; liquid glass could shatter into rain.
I am a dark bowl, waiting to be filled.
If I open my mouth now, I could drown in the rain.
I hurry home as though someone is there waiting for me.
The night collapses into your skin. I am the rain.

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