The Third River In The Rain ~ Arthur Russell


I love the rain when the rain fills the river,
when the rain fills the river, and the river starts to run,
and the willow branches read the braille of raindrops on the surface,
and ducks, reputedly impervious, hide underneath the roadway bridge,
and silent geese glide slantwise to their landing on the river,
and the island in the river sits down lower in the water,
and the tree roots hold the riverbanks,
and the empty branches lift the lowered sky
whose thickened clouds glow weirdly in the city lights nearby.

I love the rain when the rain fills the river,
and the river swells with meaning, and its meaning is to run
past the dam at Kingsland Manor, past the strip mall
on the highway that was once a marsh,
but now has a Chipotle, and the river that would fill that marsh
runs black behind the cars that park for dinner,
in a concrete quarantine that drains the rain that falls on Garret Mountain
through Essex towns and golf courses
to broaden where it joins the fouled Passaic.

I love the rain when I walk beside the river,
when I walk beside the river on my way home from the city,
from the bus stop on the highway, on a pathway
through the darkened park, my raincoat soaked,
my wide-brimmed hat with raindrops dripping from the brim,
whose felt I smell, whose smell I feel, whose beaver eaves
I walk beneath like the ducks beneath the roadway bridge
who see me walking past them to my house a few blocks further,
a man between his job and home,
a home between its innocence and what is yet to come.