Rains by Steven Hazo

Rainflakes spatter in ragtime
  on red shingles.
  the rhythm suggests a fool
  on stilts who’s stilting nowhere,
  stilt by stilt.
  splatter’s the size of a saucer.
By noon the rain’s fog-faint
  as spray from the skrim of a wave.
By night it strengthens into sluices
  wallowing like wax on windshields
  and smearing even as it’s wiped
    Shower, drizzle
  or storm, it’s all a matter
  of seas sun-siphoned to the clouds
  and then returned aslant or straight
  as plummets to the bullseye world.
Rainfalls-to-be resemble rage
  or uncontrolled desire in the making:
  lowering clouds gone gray,
  thunderous kettle-drumming
  and the quick crack of dazzle
  down the sky.
     Leaves glisten
    Boulevards darken
  with splashes.
     Square miles
  of stippled open ocean
  settle silently as loneliness.
But after the overture of buffalo
  thunder and the slashing flash
  of menace, there’s such a steadiness.
In time the sprinkling down
  of cloud-high floodings fractioned
  into drops may float an ark
  or drown a new Atlantis.
  quadrillions totally on target
  and aligned, they stay proportionate
  as poetry.
     In all the languages
  of rain they say there’s still
  a place for order, even
  in bluster, even in passion.

Dining with Montaigne

What’s welcome is your French disdain
  of dogma.
     Quotations from Solon,
  Horace, Virgil and Plato,
  of course…
     Digressions on food,
  ambition and father hood, assuredly…
But all in the spirit of conversation —
  without an angle, so to speak.
When you call marriage a “discreet
  and conscientious voluptuousness,”
  I partially agree.
  you explain that “valor” and “value”
  are etymologically akin, I see
  the connection.
     Nothing seems
     Your views on cruelty
  recall Tertullian’s platitude
  that men fear torture more than death.
Of honors you are tolerant, noting
  that honors are most esteemed
  when rare and quoting Martial
  in support: “To him who thinks
  none bad, whoever can seem good?”
If mere consistency identifies
  small minds, you never were small.

Issue Six

Editorial: Out of Africa


Harriet Zinnes

Reesom Haile

Michael Smith

Michael Leddy

Frank Rogaczewski

Devin Johnston

Steven Teref

Samuel Hazo

Mechanics of the Mirage

And: The Word from Asmara

And: The Word from India

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