Kid, this is the first rain

of November. It strips off the rest 

of the leaves, reminds trees  

how to shiver. I think to Earth  

it looks like the first first rain, the water 

of the beginning, swirling down hot 

into gassy soup. The bubbling stuff 

that imagined trees to begin with, and also 

mountains, kangaroos, dolphin cartilage, 

stoplights. And you, tearing down 

hills on Arnold street, a blur 

of training wheels and streamers. And me  

in the 80’s, crunching Life cereal on the couch   

beside my night-owl mother, blue in the light  

of David Letterman’s grin. 


Try to remember, everything that is solid 

is not solid. But slowly, always melting. The road 

cracks, wrinkles like a folded map. Huge trees  

lie down, throb into pulp inside termites.  

And the ground drinks you,  

though you grow, a tall drink of water, 

going down easy. It swallows me faster 

and faster. But don’t worry. Look at  

our neighbor’s roof—those fake gray shingles  

are crumbling, growing a thick pelt  

of moss. Eventually  

we all wake up as forest.    

Jeffrey Bean | Woman Putting On Pearls | Red Mountain Press 2016

Red Mountain Poetry Prize