The Rainstorm On Maple Avenue.
It was daytime on Maple Avenue
and the sun was shinning somewhere above the clouds
that were smothering its once brilliant feet of rays.
Above them it must've still been as bright as ever
since noon, only here below, along Maple Avenue
everything was becoming involved in a sometimes greenish,
sometimes bluish see-through fog
darkening house after house the full length of all Maple Avenue:
A nipping chill began creeping from tree to tree,
bush to bush, unwinding and unwinding
like some shadowy thief sneaking in unseen
(although very much suspected)
... to steal the truce Maple Avenue had worked out with Nature
during the ancient war of its very construction.
Everywhere the shimmering, fluttering foliage
of plants large and small was being taken by surprise
--struck full force
by how everything in the path of the transparent darkness
devouring Maple Avenue
was being roughly chewed and swallowed
by a clammy brooding monster
made of millions and millions of miniature playful blusters!
In a moment all Maple Avenue looked like it was being gathered up
into some massively oppressive ball, big as the universe,
and ever-shrinking, holding within it
all that was ours (our cars and our trees and our houses)
Windows along Maple Avenue started cracking open their blinds,
even as a shutting down and locking up of doors ran
from each house to each house like a fire alarm
along... all Maple Avenue.
The jittery, frightened people behind every safe, secure
pane of glass were soon staring from behind pictures
of perfectly cringing panic... to catch the splendor
of the darkening earth (in case maybe the whole planet
was getting ready to burst):
The bright butterflies and the sleepy-eyed moths,
all the birds and squirrels (even the bravest dog in the world)
scurried off--trying to find any possible place to hide.
Far away, quite slowly at first,
a threatening running rumbling started thundering
like it was trying to rip apart the heavens
in a towering hurry to get where we were!
"Why? Why? Why?" all the kids were asking.
Only, it was a question none of the parents could answer:
Now only a silence burned vividly in their eyes
frozen wide-open in wonder.
Then, as everyone was beginning to believe the worst
disaster ever on earth might be rushing headlong
towards Maple Avenue to (personally) knock on every door
... a soft tinkling sensation (just barely, almost) slowly
began spreading across Maple Avenue
over a million shallow splashing feet
from each lawn to the next one.
Gently at first, and then furiously
on to the next one after the next one.
Rash gusts of small spitting breezes like desperate animals
searching for something to eat
immediately began scrounging about every item outdoors:
All of the garbage bins, fence posts both of wood and iron,
the doghouse in which the bravest dog on earth was hiding
and shivering, all of the flowers lying back
in their so very well made wire-framed beds...
* * *
Between the wet winds' raking of Maple Avenue
with a pungent scent of the wet dust
... everywhere water whispered and breathed
the dry deadly static of the universe
playing with millions and millions
of the tiniest imaginable glass jacks
--just bouncing and bouncing them (so hard
that they cracked into marvelous small splashing sparks
before vanishing ... every last one).
Waves of winding fury
are now washing over Maple Avenue
in such a harsh hurry to get through it all
that it looks like they're tearing up trees to their roots
and swatting away cars like they'd only been soap bars
over some slippery sopping tiles!
A huge splat's slapping at the windows and doors
all over Maple Avenue
as if cruelly abusive tons and tons of water
were trying to break into every one of its homes!
The entire roof of our own house
is raising a squabbling murdering row;
shaking us like our home had suddenly hatched into life
and was trying to fly off its nest (or die trying)
... crying a dreadful never-ending torrent of shushing
and hushing noise now all the time!
Thunder is blowing up hydrogen bombs all around us,
bursting across the whole of forsaken, forlorn Maple Avenue,
nearer and nearer each time!
Creation itself blinks in stupendous winks
and flashes of blinding instant lightning sticks
(with which the rainstorm is beating all Maple Avenue to bits)
crashing and crashing closer and closer every time
with lightning and thunder like instantaneous twins
timing down the closing moments of life!
Like all the littlest leaves that live
every person inside every house that's on Maple Avenue
is also trembling mightily
... and not simply to please Grandmother:
Standing over rubber-soled feet, we climb
over all wooden chairs at hand, or raise our feet
over any available table
... desperately trying to ground our nerves
as hard as we can (for they're loosely flapping about
quite badly now), all of us wishing just as hard as praying
that we had been everywhere else then
but at Maple Avenue:
"Ah!!!" cries an invisible chorus of breezes outside
(like the death-song of the world)
while earth-sized clumps of poor Maple Avenue
are being mauled and hauled out stubbornly past our windows
with all of the pulling force of a billion billion mules!
Endless tons and tons and tons of shattered and chewed up litter
blow past us like pitiful hurricane settlings
and thrashed remains of poor Maple Avenue,
as the monster tries to suck out the trees from the ground,
blow down the houses (and everything standing
over anything) even to the last crushed particle
of our understanding!
The Rainstorm on Maple Avenue is rising (and bursting
everything)... trying to break in everywhere,
each blustering blow it strikes our distressingly trembling walls
sending all the room around us reeling
down to our very skin (now almost completely
without any feeling left in it at all):
"Will it ever end!?" all the girls cry out
after each massively shuddering impact.
And, "When will it end?!" all the boys cry out
after them again.
"Will the monster break in and carry us off!"
everybody's asking everyone else then
(boys, girls and parents all alike in awe):
"Ah!" Then a sigh or two more,
from the ghost-like ghoulish chorus of winds outside,
and the threatening flashes are suddenly falling
much farther and farther apart.
Quite suddenly... the thundering bombs are exploding
less boisterously around us,
every one of them less likely to be (as personally)
aiming to blow up every last one of us.
"It's actually moving away at last!"
everyone is suddenly cheering with relief in unbridled joy:
Our house's stressed walls are now rumbling much less so.
Then even less and less. Until finally
the rocked, pitched people within it
(who just moments before had been shaking so much)
begin to touch with their feet the ground
that just seconds before had been so wildly electrifying:
We can trust the earth again (if only a little at first).
Although, in no time at all, some of us
are finally actually smiling; others more cautiously,
although embarrassedly... giggling like silly fools.
A few even rush to the windows
to see what might be left of a world
so completely abandoned out there to its fate:
But all Maple Avenue is still as much in place
as it has always been, end to end,
even from its very beginnings,
untouched by our touching concern.
Throughout Maple Avenue not even a tree has been torn away
and not a house carried off like a moment in all eternity
(as we had supposed).
Cars are neatly parked very nearly exactly where they had been
... at the close of Creation a second before.
The houses, as far as our eyes could track them,
standing upright and tall to a one
without even a sign of having been (as we had feared)
pulverized into debris and garbage!
Not even the smallest plant of all had been ripped apart
or pushed under in all Maple Avenue
(where before we'd've sworn
Maple Avenue would never be able to take
such a pounding and live).
But not even a trash bin has been tossed about
or turned over throughout Maple Avenue!
Even the tiniest things that live and breathe
had been safe outdoors all over Maple Avenue:
The birds were soon out to a one
and singing about Maple Avenue.
All of the squirrels came out and laughed
at how silly we were.
Every last sleepy-eyed moth and bright butterfly
soon also had shaken the storm off their wings
just as easily as if it had all been
some quite wishy-washy daydream.
Even the bravest dog on earth
was soon out of its doghouse
and, like everyone else, very coyly pretending
it had been nothing at all.
"We never imagined... the earth could take so much!"
was the simple credo
in the humbled eyes looking now startled and awed
out of all of the windows opened on Maple Avenue.
* * *
The Rainstorm on Maple Avenue
is passing away faster and faster now...
Only its thinly gurgling tail still thrashing and thrashing about
with brief crystal kisses and the so polished hisses
of (only) its warmest regard
... pushing the last bits of the dry dust out of its way
(those which some natural miracle always protects from the wet
even under the most violent rainstorms).
Now Maple Avenue holds just the eternal silence
that settles its blankets of peace over every newly wet world
... a hush which won't let anyone twitch
even the least anything whatever:
And the neighbors all along Maple Avenue (staring wide-eyed
from behind their paned picture windows)
ever so quietly begin falling and falling away
from their pictures of outdoors wonder
... all one by one by one
slowly putting their blinds back up.
We as well,
for the threatening somber clouds
have become but a cool moistened and growing
(almost all-tolerant) brightness of joyous Sun.
The once so very transparently menacing darkness
is running away from the light now
(like mobs of those little mean crabs at the shore
that run off from each sea wave in such petty terror).
And the sun's piercing through now
so sassy and harsh that it almost seems trying to intrude
(as if quite uninvited) into its own day.
Like our Maple Avenue neighbors
we also step back and away from our windows
(and slowly bring down all the curtains)...
There are so many more games to sift through
everywhere else: Elsewhere, many (and much more exciting
and important) chores to fill up
... with all of the napping sands of time.
And the Rainstorm on Maple Avenue has just about
completely run its course now and is gone:
There's nothing of interest out there anymore;
not even the slightest hint of peril (worth
keeping an eye out for);
not one blatantly menacing monster
or threat at our door:
No longer is there anything of any importance
happening on Maple Avenue...
Only the saucy wet scents of that freshly-cut grass
out there, always so heightened
(like ever more gigantic footsteps)
after the shadow that passed momentarily
above all Maple Avenue.
And, naturally... all of the millions and millions of flowers
blowing through--So many
that they must have bloomed in a thousand thousand universes
beyond all ever known, or even suspected,
by us... but which the Rainstorm on Maple Avenue brought
to us --suddenly-- in a flash
at once as refreshing as all the springs that have ever been
through this earth
since before the beginning of the beginning!
INDEX PREVIOUS NEXT FIRST