Not Just a Storm

It rained very hard here this morning, one of those intense prolonged downpours that causes flooding and washouts. This poem was written earlier this summer after such a storm at night.

Rainstorm Story

Well, if you know the path,
you know the stream below it
and the tangled trees and weeds
the fallen logs
on the other side of it
and maybe you remember
two nights ago all that rain
and so you know the path
has mud across it now
big puddles
I’ve high-stepped through one already
you know about the trapped flood water
on the other side
so that trees and bushes have their feet wet
uncomfortable, they look,
no matter how breezy bright
things are today
Anyway
I tell you all this
so you’ll understand
why I didn’t think it strange
to turn a curve
to find a fish
flat in the middle of the path
I’ve often seen little ones
along here
Caught in a deep puddle after a storm
Stranded for however long
evaporation can be held off
and then that’s it.
Not this one, though. Too late.
Quite large, a carp, I think
Two feet long and as big as my cat
No one fishes for them and so
they grow large and confident.
Dead. Flies all over him
and someone has taken a bite
out of his stomach.
My goodness, I say,
Looking at him I know
in the dark, in the confusion of the storm waters
in the loud,
among the bruising branches carried along
in the black sheets of water
the common wash
of stream and path and land
carried him here
or maybe he decided
but I think he had no choice.
The waters move fast.
It’s all no good now
however it was.
I am wondering what he felt
when he realized
finding himself here
knowing it had gone wrong
but not why
just wrong
And I am also wondering
could it have been
if it were at that same time
that night
that I was comfortable in my bed
listening to the rain come off my roof
disciplined and contained
rattling down the drainpipe
shaking it a little in its supports
And thinking
I will fall asleep so easily
to such a pleasant patterned sound?

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4 thoughts on “Not Just a Storm

  1. Thank you. Sometimes I see little fishes swimming in the puddles left behind on this path. I feel very bad about their trapped situation. This is the first time I’ve seen a full-sized fish in this spot like that, really tells you what the water does…

  2. Thank you. I have thought about the events that happen along this path in the park many times, as I run or walk there often, and I see the effects of the rains. It is in a flood plain, so it is to be expected the waters cause disruption there, but it still affects me to see the results. Has given me a lot to think about.

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