This wasn’t the first time or the last,
wasn’t the first time we thought of stone or the sparked and flushed light.

The flood was an afterthought of the river and the river of a greater crime.

This was when names arrived through a polish of rainwater.

Names are that which we give to what we otherwise forget, which is why I don’t work for memory.
That’s one thing and not the other.

I do love your name—how, when I realize the windows are best left open, it rolls out like thunder.
The small flood on the sill, too, is an afterthought, but like the river it forgets to end up in our mouths.

Mouths that keep rivers under the tongue like rumor.

Mouths that sing tribute to storms.

And though it’s not the first time, the sill swells in moist air.

And because I don’t know the intricacies of a dovetail, it won’t be the last, the last being a tribute to the labor of clouds in dry season.

This was when we first lay down in advancement.
This was when we skipped stones over tongues of the river.

            This was when.

In labor, a brief river precedes the child.

Through the radio, the siren hums out a rumor of flood.

It’s a story I’d rather not tell.

More by David Welch

I Doubt They Would Notice the Mustachioed Man's Wife

                                       —John Ashbery

How you carry yourself in
the train station says a lot
about the Constitution     what  
it lets you experience in
the eyes of the engineers
and how one day you may
believe it necessary to board
the express out of town
you tell no one     and in this
you take your freedom
you take a cold sandwich
from the thin man pushing
his cart down the aisle     outside
the trees impress the darkness
of the train as you pass
into the middle of America
so much change rattles
around in your head you know
you cannot sleep     you
know sleep is for those
on slower land     around their heads 
it is morning     the alarms
have yet to sound     this pleases
you     the trains are moving swiftly 
at their destinations

You Meet Someone and Later You Meet Their Dancing and You Have to Start Again

                              —Heather Christle

You meet someone and inside of them
you know there swells
a small country brimming
with steel and beasts of labor.
You love the country
and so you fear it.
Its flora fascinates you.
You wish to visit, though
you worry you won’t
wear the right clothes, that you'll fail
to order a drink, ask directions,
assure the clerk in the flower
shop you aren’t a thief.
They’re only roses. They remind you
of the one you love.
Even with your eyes closed
in your own mouth you’d know
they’re roses.

The Audience

The new mystery arrived at midnight
and so the boy swished it like wine between his teeth.
I feel now like I have a purpose, the boy said,
and his audience acknowledged that they understood
and began to cheer as if watching a rabbit untangle itself
from a poorly set trap. Dawn came and the mystery remained.
Soon, the boy said, I will have for you a proposition.
How will we know, asked his audience, that your proposition is
in proportion to your purpose. You will know, said the boy,
by how many rabbits you find waiting tonight in the woods.
If tonight is a night of rabbits, you will see them in
proportion to the trees. And if the rabbits are proportional,
said the audience, we’ll understand the proportions
of your proposition. Yes, said the boy. The audience
dispersed. They went to go wait for the rabbits.
The boy decided he would attend to his new mystery.
Daylight passed and in the twilight the boy experienced
a twitching on the edge of the trees. He called out to his audience
but no one responded. He kicked the ground
and the twitching only continued to grow more frantic.
The boy decided he would make a proposition to god,
though he knew it would be without purpose, and suddenly
he understood how surrounded he was.