In your front yard, rain taps
each pink magnolia petal
swaying in the chill breeze.
You count between the drops,
like the trickle of our time,
hoping to avoid thought.

Your hand brushes your hair.
Will teaspoons of sunlight
douse each strand tomorrow?
Now, why not walk alone
a few blocks to the park.
No umbrella, no shoes.

Why not splash a puddle,
lift out a drowning worm?
The streets clap at your feet,
a distant church spire points.
In the park, your tender
soles avoid the little sticks.

Under an elm, you grab a seat
on a park bench, ignore
its dampness, and wipe drops
from your butterfly eyelashes.
You admire the community
garden freshly plowed.

Along the fence, you step,
inspect each dark furrow
waiting for seed, and water.
Imagine the sprouts horning,
stalks standing on lean limbs.

At the end of the season,
tomatoes and cucumbers rot,
left discarded on the dirt
but today everything
waits for your caring hand
to plant the seeds, water,
weed in sunlight and wind.

Walking home, you bypass
a father under an umbrella,
son in camouflaged raincoat
stopping to watch mallards
swimming in the rippling
creek, trudging to their nests.

The father and son smile
at you. You stop, and say
hello. Laugh with them. Nod.
Walk away, palms turned up
catching raindrops. Shimmering.

Mario Duarte is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poems and short stories have appeared in 2River Review, Abstract Elephant, American Writers Review, Bilingual/Borderless, Digging Through the Fat, Lunch Ticket, Pank, Rigorous, Sky Island Journal, Plainsongs, Write Launch and Typishly.