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BEFORE THE RAIN
by Lianne Spidel

Minutes before the rain begins
I always waken, listening
to the world hold its breath,
as if a phone had rung once in a far
room or a door had creaked
in the darkness.
 
Perhaps the genes of some forebear
startle in me, some tribal warrior
keeping watch on a crag beside a loch,
miserable in the cold,
 
though I think it is a woman’s waiting
I have come to know,
a Loyalist hiding in the woods,
muffling the coughing of her child
against her linen skirts, her dark head
bent over his, her fear spent
somewhere else in time,
 
leaving only this waiting,
 
and I hope she escaped
with her child, and I suppose she did.
If not, I wouldn’t be lying here awake,
alive, listening for the rain to begin
so that she can run, the sound
of her footsteps lost, the sight
of them blotted away on the path.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lianne Spidel grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wittenberg University and the University of Michigan. She is the author of the chapbook Chrome (2006), and her poems have been included in the anthology I Have My Own Song For It: Modern Poems of Ohio (2002). Spidel taught high school for 31 years until her 1998 retirement. She lives in Greenville, Ohio.