Further Rain

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Rain at every hour of the day and night, churning and pooling like a busted vein until the grass is thick and the ditches gurgle. What a thing it is to have rain like this after weeks of crumbling powder; what a thing to be soaked to the bare back and cradle your fag-end in the lee of it.

The burn’s up and the weeds trail like coiling scarves in the amber water. I peer in from the bridge and hope to see elvers or darting fish, but all I find is myself and the underside of my toes. They drip, and the rings slew away downstream.

Now there’s a pair of cuckoos on the moss and the air is stuffy like a jungle floor. I watch them flying in a relay along my electric fence poles. They’re heavy-set and sodden to the meat, and a crowd of smaller birds follows behind them in fury as if they know that cuckoos breed a special kind of ill.

So I walk from my bed to the beasts. The day goes by and I walk back again. The rain falls like dew on their backs and the cows stand to piss in teeming gallons like a riot. They’re heavy and loose, and I can see calves turning in their bellies like fish. I wish they’d get on and have done with it; I longed for this joy but it’s gnawed me to impatience again; I peaked too soon.

But for now all we can be sure of is rain and still more of it, and the heft of heavy leaves and the spray of fallen blossom in the grass.

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