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Winter 2007, Volume 23.2


Charlotte McCaffreyPhoto of Charlotte McCaffrey.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Charlotte McCaffrey moved to California after two decades in the Midwest. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Comstock Review, Confrontation, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Madison Review, Phoebe, Poetry International, Porcupine Magazine, Sojourner, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and many others. Currently, she teaches a special education class in the San Francisco Bay area.


The Connotation of Rain

Once, it meant atmosphere.
Drama, foreboding.
The perfect time to pine
for love lost
or not yet arrived.
At the very least,
a cozy quarantine
and a guiltless nap.

Now it just means winter,
here in Northern California.
Sump pumps below,
leaky roofs above.
Traffic snarls
when we leave the house.
A monsoony kind
of claustrophobia
when we stay.

I listen to
the sluggish gurgle
of rain moving through
the dyspeptic gutters.
Think about
the lavishly scented vapor
that just precedes
the patter of fresh showers.



How imprecise my fingers have become,
as curled around a pencil
they make scratch marks on paper.
Schedules. Plans.

We are just animals.
Netted by our appetites,
our shivering and our sleep,
the drum of sex.
Our bodies move ahead, break down,
rest, revive and decay
on their own, not thinking exactly
but with a plan implanted,
housing a scheme that confounds
the more thoughtful parts
that would sketch and design the years.
All the fast and fervent talk
just barks and hoots
and tiny roars in the wind.


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