Diane Payne
The Rain

Long as I remember,
The rain been comin' down.
Clouds of myst'ry pourin'
Confusion on the ground.

“Ain’t never seen no rain like this rain,” the neighbors muttered when they ran outside to fetch their mail, and the children ignored them since school was closed for rain, whodathunk that was even possible, and they didn’t care about possibilities and probabilities, they were busy rounding up old plastic pools and boards, anything that would carry them afloat down the street because it ain’t every day you get to ride riptides down the road, and as the unfortunate neighbors started dragging out their ruined furniture, the kids started hauling their shit into their yards thinking about the forts they’d build because there may never be any more school if this rain continued, which they were certain would happen because so many grownups were bitching and moaning about the damn rain, pissed the kids were home, pissed they had to drive through flooded roads to get to their shitty jobs where they had to listen to all that damn talk about how they should have built an ark before the flood, hahaha, ain’t gonna do us no good now, and for many, this soul cleansing rain made them question everything:

1) why they married that asshole who farted in bed
2) if there was a god, why can’t their house flood so they can replace that hideous shag carpet
3) why have I only lived in the Bible Belt, not the Rust Belt, the Sun Belt
4) maybe the death penalty should be abolished
5) maybe sexual offenders should be castrated
6) maybe the rainless February meant more than a month of burn bans
7) maybe we should put barrels out and collect this rain because what if it doesn’t rain in April
8) is this fucking El Niño or La Niña and what the hell does that even mean?

And then the kids started whooping and hollering, and parents ran outside certain the lightning had started up again, and maybe they should have been paying closer attention to their damn kids running around almost naked while they sat inside moping in front of the TV, long removed from the nights when they opened windows and made vigorous love during thunderstorms, grabbed umbrellas and parkas to take walks in the rain, emptied trashcans to float down flooded streets, and they stood there, unsure what to do while their children climbed trees and sheds because the yards and roads were now filled with alligators, while one woman and her two children came floating down the street in a canoe singing:

Still the rain kept pourin',
Fallin' on my ears.
And I wonder,
Still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain.

Diane Payne is the author of Burning Tulips (Red Hen Press) and has been published in hundreds of literary journals, most recent publications include: Watershed Review, Tishman Review, Whiskey Island, Kudzu House Quarterly, Burrow Press, Cheat River Review, and forthcoming in The Offing. She has a chapbook forthcoming from Blue Lyra Press and is the MFA Director at University of Arkansas-Monticello.