rain shadows
by Barbara F. Lefcowitz



OFFICIAL NOMINEE FOR THE
2000 PUSHCART PRIZE ANTHOLOGY
FROM RED RIVER REVIEW


Long a student of rain
I was glad to discover
yet another dimension
of its many shadows.
This time not feathery stripes
or braided strands
but white-rimmed dark ovals
scudding across a page.
If I didn't know
they'd been cast by the rain
streaming down my window
I'd suspect they were cells
without cilia or a nucleus
escaped from one of the many
exotic diseases harbored inside
my closed car, their rapidity of passage
a sign of their intent to attack
through invisible gaps or seams
the upholstery, rug, my hands
the minute I stop writing this--
Cells so clever that when I rub the page
it reveals nothing beyond ordinary paper
waiting for something to break up
its white dry surface. Nor will the rain-cells
stop long enough for me to trace
the route of their stream
before it disappears at the margins.
I think of Leeuwenhoek gazing with wonder
at the algae and sperm under his microscope's lens,
daring to draw their forms precisely
no matter how they might shock the good
burghers of Delft. And I think, too,
of the shapes that crossed the ceiling
above my childhood bed, how shocked
the grown-ups would be
if they knew I could watch all their antics
in my shadow-puppet theater.






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