Archive for the ‘“First Rain”’ Category

First Rain

By Barbara Sweeney

It is a dress to be worn
by a free woman
in the black before dawn, liquid cool
and open down the back,
scented with the smell of heat
rising from stones.

It is silk in shifting patterns,
floor-length, ungathered, unadorned,
a dress that catches crystal
in its wake and shatters it,
and the shattering is sudden
and loud.

It is a chilled glass of a gown
cut for quenching the narrow moons
of prediction and reason,
stitched strong for dancing
out a strange, hot season,
looked forward to, whispered after.

Appeared in The American Scholar;
Summer 1998