What Comes After Rain

by E. Lily Yu

Doves dangle ripe and dusky on the wires
And the fog beads upon a spider's strand,
Twig-crack, leaf-cackle soft and silent now
Freshest fall flaming every hectic hue

A mad mad mood, a pipework melancholy
Varnished in wet wind. (Three withering
Mushroom-knuckled crones among the sere,
The yellow-silver grass, the rusting leaves,
Nuts soft with rain.)

                     The water on the road
Bites to the bone, down to a nether sky
Streaked staked spired by branches grasping down.

A noise on the path behind you. (Do not turn.
Walk faster without running, and do not look
Backward at the rattling wind. Shut your door,
Latch your window, scatter broomseed and salt
Against the old woman in the ancient time,
Her streaming hair, her scratching on the pane.)

Let me in, I bring gifts of apples and rare cates
Unknotted from the roots of the wood, let me in,
I smell warmth and good things to eat.
Unbar the door, dear one, young one, I melt
In the rain, and the wind is a knife. Let me in
Now, or late in the night I shall bring

The thunder of strange wings on breathless winds,
The keening of wild geese against an orange moon.

E. Lily Yu lives and studies in Princeton, New Jersey. Her work has also appeared in Quick Fiction. She can be tempted by black cherries and white figs.

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