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Marjorie Maddox

Long-term Forecast

Sure, threatening skies flash your own stormy choices.

Some days, you still search for your favorite umbrella

the very second a TV stranger mentions an incoming storm,

the slight possibility of it. By high noon, you’re convinced rain

will cover the earth, float you away. Thirty years earlier, hooded,

you ignored forecasts, gray clouds filling up with argument.


And yet, when a squall catches you unawares, you replay the argument

you once witnessed during a thunderstorm. Peering out a window, you didn’t choose 

to trespass on the thunder of strangers, but you did recognize the deluge. Unhooded

in a Louisville downpour, the famous poet stomped away, the only umbrella

arched over his head. His lover, twenty feet behind, yelled through rain

too thick to let words through. Then, drenched, she stopped. Overtaken by storm,


she watched him fade away to dryness. Or so you imagined, your own storms

just beginning to lift from the ground, to spin; gale winds clashing in argument.

The force of them hurled you toward hurricane. The aftermath: your rainy

haze, destructive floods, the long damp years of clean-up. The weather of choice:

believe your eyes or someone else’s voice will drown your own. Either umbrella

has holes. You could study meteorology, but better to buy jackets with hoods,


something to resist the first minutes of wet as you dash through a neighborhood

full of regret to wherever you claim as home. Afterall, any port in a storm

is not the same as safe passage. A repaired roof offers more than a patched umbrella.

Ok, so all the earth’s clichéd phrases can’t keep you safe and dry, but some arguments

do just come down to semantics, the personal mantras you eventually choose

to climb aboard, set sail into the remaining days. Can’t bold parades canceled by rain


march into the smallest harbor, two-step across pot-holed streets? Either way, rain

knows how to find you: mist, drizzle, sleet. When younger, you picked hoods

over umbrellas, more cool and less embarrassing when the dark day chose

to not rain but instead brighten into surprised joy, into even after-the-storm

promise, the ROYGBIV bow, colors coordinated, never arguing

over order or worth. But now? The assurance of dry, the insurance of umbrellas


small enough for a backpack or purse, and those Monet water-lily umbrellas

making their own artistic splash, wildly transforming spring’s crisp rain 

into green growth where only crabgrass and dandelions dare to argue.

Admit you’re done with drowning. Beyond flooded neighborhoods,                                       you’ve learned to rescue the damaged, harbor yourself with story, storms

the finale light show of middle-age, where you get to choose


when to tango in the rain, when to outstare the storm, 

when to pop open your umbrella, or tug off your hood

for life’s wet, wild, wonderful arguments of choice.

Jeffrey Alfier Matin_Bleu.jpeg
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