and a line of light is just beginning
to open the lid of the horizon.

Somebody leans out an upstairs window
and shouts, “Thanks for the beer.
Write when you get work.” A car
coughs, starts, moves down the street
avoiding the deeper puddles
stippled with rain. It passes a dog
in a doorway, his tail curled
carefully around his delicate feet.

It is raining in Coblenz and in Buda
and in Pest. It is raining
on the top and bottom of the world.

It is raining in Argentina. The bank vaults
are leaking. The German certificates
of deposit are beginning to mold.

It is raining on the gleaming seats 
of hundreds of parked bicycles.

It is raining for those who plan to go out
and for those who plan to stay in.
It is raining quietly, the rain of forever,
the rain of good-bye, the rain of tomorrow.

It is raining on horses who stand
on three feet in wet fields
and speak the language of every country.

It is raining on the mansion on the hill
with one small light from the kitchen
where the cook has a toothache and cannot sleep.
She sits playing solitaire, looking around
the empty room quickly, and cheating.

It is raining on the glistening tailings
from exhausted mines and on little
ghost towns in the mountains.

It is raining on the old house in the city
far away where we once lived another life.
It is raining wherever you are
and wherever I am and wherever
we are going and have been.

It is raining on the tombstones, on the flat
stones and the upright stones. It is raining
into the open graves that are waiting.

It is raining on history, on the battlefields
of long-lost wars
and the bronze statues of forgotten heroes.

It is raining on Alcatraz, in the fog,
where mushrooms are growing under steel bunks.

It is raining on millions of pale yellow
butterflies far out at sea, migrating
like angels from one world to another. 


“It Is Raining” from The Last Person to Hear Your Voice by Richard Shelton, © 2007. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.