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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – October 24

October 27, 2017

Poem of the Week 10/24/17

Della Rowland

Trade Winds

One day it rains in Indiana,
the next in New York.
Weather winding from the Pacific across the North
follows the wind’s drop down,
down to the boot toe of Indiana where I grew up,
where the Ohio encounters the Wabash,
where Indiana knees Kentucky and elbows Illinois.

Then the weather heads back north and east,
courses up invisible banks
over ordinary Ohio,
endless Pennsylvania,
industrial New Jersey,
to the stop sign at the Hudson
where I live now.

The Ohio curls up in the armpit of my hometown,
curves against flood banks on the Kentucky side,
slides under pastel and fluorescent sunsets
to meet the moonlight on the Wabash.

Humidity hangs heavy in that river basin,
a damp blanket on everything,
even tree leaves’ undersides.
It clings to your skin,
even after you’ve left.

My angry sister snows on every road I drive to reach her.
My sad sister sends me rain and autumn leaves by the rake-fulls.

My dead father’s disapproving voice blows north wind cold,
cold as his marble monument,
his children’s names on the back,
hieroglyphs depicting servants buried with the pharaoh for eternity
under a stone sunset.

The smell of Mom’s roses and laundry on the line
crosses state lines and years,
travels the wind stream and veins.
We scattered her long ago in the Pacific with roses.
She and their scent flow under our bridges,
up our rivers, in the rain,
lie like soft humidity on our skin.

My Indiana won’t send its historic thunderstorms
or infamous tornado tunnels north.
It’s waiting for its earthquake fault line to finally fall in.
You’d think it was LA where my brother fled
to escape that weather pattern.

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