e x p e c t ( s h o w e r s )

by a. noelle

expect rain ephemera gif

sticky rice popping,
sweater humming on low heat—
a sense of waiting


the scattering of rain
back over Eaglestone,
slender beams of sun
lighting tumbles and rolls
outside her single-pane

the swift smacking of paws
against uneven gravel and brick
laid by her uncles
before she was born,

as old Tashi’s salty coat,
hopelessly matted by years
of slinking through back alleys
on filthier, infecund soil,
disappeared behind the
unattached car port,

when she already knew
how to count
the puppies in the windows
with all her fingers
but was still figuring out
how to grip the leash
with her overcooked longganisas
Tight, ala! Use the catch!
Never saw that old biscuit run so fast!

the thick splattering
of red and black acrylic
like a toy whip
across a half-white canvas,

as her full-blooded cousin
painted over
a century’s worth
of her ten-year-old effort
with crosses and bars and giant zeroes,
never allowing her to
join in any reindeer games,

while she stood in the kitchen
next to the chinelas
and watched Mama scream
an ancient song con acentos
to her non-hyphenated aunt,
mud-red paint spilling down
her cousin’s shiny arms,
until all their faces became ube
mashed into halo-halo

the shredding of a dirty,
plastic tent left out in the yard
by her ates, too busy chasing youth
to understand the importance
of a strong, flexible,
water-resistant tarpaulin,

after her uncle got home
from a thirty-year shift
moving gurneys
from one floor
to the floor above,
on elevators
that only went down,

when she squeezed behind
the closet door that was
broken off its hinges
to play hide-and-seek
with her clever ates
(who were also hiding in her spot)
and won because she found them all
before her uncle counted to ten

the dripping of vanilla ice cream
onto the marble countertop
stained with patis and bagoóng
that smelled like the parking lot
behind Seafood City,

because her lolo forgot
about his diabetes and
that you’re supposed to
squeeze the ice cream scoop
and not the cone,

when she ducked around
his legs to spy on her
grandmother’s discipline,
avoid the pumalo,
and sneak small pearls
of melted ice cream
from the scoop hidden
behind her lolo’s back

the drumming of her fingertips
on the windowsill
to the beat of a 90s R&B classic
that she remembers singing
to her crush the day before
her best friend asked him
to Sadies, three days before
the glorious narc bust
that got them both expelled,

as she watches the sun
bounce between dirty pillows
rinsing in the spin cycle,
thinking, Don’t go, don’t go—


#napowrimo #variouspovs