Waiting for Rain

Ellen Bass

 
Finally, morning. This loneliness
feels more ordinary in the light, more like my face
in the mirror. My daughter in the ER again.
Something she ate? Some freshener

someone spritzed in the air?
They’re trying to kill me, she says,
as though it’s a joke. Lucretius
got me through the night. He told me the world goes on

making and unmaking. Maybe it’s wrong
to think of better and worse.
There’s no one who can carry my fear
for a child who walks out the door

not knowing what will stop her breath.
The rain they say is coming
sails now over the Pacific in purplish nimbus clouds.
But it isn’t enough. Last year I watched

elephants encircle their young, shuffling
their massive legs without hurry, flaring
their great dusty ears. Once they drank
from the snowmelt of Kilimanjaro.

Now the mountain is bald. Lucretius knows
we’re just atoms combining and recombining:
star dust, flesh, grass. All night
I plastered my body to Janet,

breathing when she breathed. But her skin,
warm as it is, does, after all, keep me out.
How tenuous it all is.
My daughter’s coming home next week.

She’ll bring the pink plaid suitcase we bought at Ross.
When she points it out to the escort
pushing her wheelchair, it will be easy
to spot on the carousel. I just want to touch her.
 
Copyright © 2013 by Ellen Bass. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 30, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

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Bring me your pain, love. Spread
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Further Reading

Poems About Daughters
A Little Tooth
by Thomas Lux
A Newborn Girl at Passover
by Nan Cohen
A Prayer for my Daughter
by W. B. Yeats
Achill
by Derek Mahon
Daughters in Poetry
by Eavan Boland
Daughters, 1900
by Marilyn Nelson
For a Daughter Who Leaves
by Janice Mirikitani
Heart's Needle
by W. D. Snodgrass
Home After Three Months Away
by Robert Lowell
Interstate Highway
by James Applewhite
Ladders
by Elizabeth Alexander
Morning Song
by Sylvia Plath
My Daughter All Yourn
by Farid Matuk
My Daughter Among the Names
by Farid Matuk
Poems about Daughters
Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah
by Patricia Smith
The Bistro Styx
by Rita Dove
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
The Writer
by Richard Wilbur
Today A Rainstorm Caught Me
by Matt Hart