Rain Twice

by Helen Mort

i. Rain in a headtorch

drifts sideways through the beam,
slicks across a lemon moon

and makes the woods a mystery
of dog-scent, winter mulch.

Pre-dawn, when Sharrow Vale
and Psalter Lane lie down to weep

proud as a grandmother
and not your grandmother

but mine – tears that never fall,
caught by the landscape of her face,

tears a lifted hand could wipe away
and so I raise mine to the silver trees

and pause and look and run again
until I run like horizontal rain, run

with just my failing light
and this false gravity.


ii. Night rain

Rain tiptoeing
on the roof
of your van
then quickening,

the way you say
I enter a room:
deer-like, tentative
then definite.

I can’t stand
outside my body,
see myself
a shadow animal

against the wall
but I take
your word for it, lie
still on your chest

and find you
too beautiful
to look straight at
so I look at you

the way rain
touches the roof
a thousand times

trace your shoulder
the way drops
move down
the windowpane

and when you
turn to me, the rain
falls through
the night’s thin skin

and my skin is less
than paper
so by now
I must be drowned

must be an envelope
soaked in warm water
held to the light
so you can

see right through me,
how I break
and make the world
seem solid.