Burning in the Rain
by Richard Blanco
Someday compassion would demand
I set myself free of my desire to recreate
my father, indulge in my mother’s losses,
strangle lovers with words, forcing them
to confess for me and take the blame.
Today was that day: I tossed them, sheet
by sheet on the patio and gathered them
into a pyre. I wanted to let them go
in a blaze, tiny white dwarfs imploding
beside the azaleas and ficus bushes,
let them crack, burst like winged seeds,
let them smolder into gossamer embers-
a thousand gray butterflies in the wind.
Today was that day, but it rained, kept
raining. Instead of fire, water-drops
knocking on doors,wetting windows
into mirrors reflecting me in the oaks.
The garden walls and stones swelling
into ghostlier shades of themselves,
the wind chimes giggling in the storm,
a coffee cup left overflowing with rain.
Instead of burning, my pages turned
into water lilies floating over puddles
finally drying all night under the moon
into papier-mâché souvenirs. Today
the rain would not let their lives burn.