Iron Rain, acrylic on watercolor paper, 18″ X 24″, Lex Leonard
There is a planet faraway where the rain is made of iron…..
Helen placed her phone down on her lap. Her eyes were tired. The glow made them itch and when she read too long, especially when it was dark in the room, her eyes watered.
Leaning her head back to rest against the wooden slats of her grandmother’s only remaining dining room chair, she let herself feel the water pool under her narrowed eyelids. And when there was no more room, she squeezed them tighter, shutting out all frivolous possibilities.
And tears ran down her cheeks, under her jaw, and dropped onto the screen of her phone. They puddled there. Not a lot but enough to catch the light of the moon through the attic window.
Iron. Helen mused. As her eyes cleared she could see the moon glow in each drop, silvery, a bit like iron. And she wondered what iron raindrops sound like…
She never cried that hard before
sobs and snot ran down her blouse
she wiped, eyes, nose, blouse
in apology as if that would make a difference
The noise of each teardrop
full of anger, enraged, hot and molten
seized mid-air, became real
plunked onto her cheek then blouse
then to the ground
she was cold in her raving madness,
the iron clinks
did anyone else hear
Why couldn’t anyone else hear
Bent to Earth she touched
each tear, each iron droplet
She wanted to collect them
keep them safe
Why doesn’t anyone else remember
Her finger pressed,
hers mixed with iron rain,
of their existence
a mud, a plaster
a cast of what was
Helen’s phone glowed at her. She blinked her eyes and wiped the screen on her skirt. The message was from Sarah.
Want to have coffee.
Yes. Helen wanted coffee.
See you at Cassie’s in about an hour.
Yes. Helen wanted coffee, an iron brew to warm her from the inside.
She stood and walked by memory to the wall. She didn’t need a light to guide her to the switch.
The light blinded her a bit. She made a note to change the bulb to something softer.
Helen looked at herself in the mirror, straightened her hair, and noticed a delicate iron sheen on her cheeks.
I fell behind. Or should I say, I fell into the black hole.
I’m finding this isolation and the bigger picture a time of many ups and downs.
I am learning not to deride myself for doing “nothing.” In the time of a pandemic simply surviving, taking a breath, opening my eyes, is the most important thing to do every day.
I am learning to slow down. Pretty much everything is optional. There is not a big script that is my contract. Being is enough and if I chose to watch TV, fine. Cook. Fine. Meditate. Fine. Walk the dog. Fine. If I don’t do any of all that stuff I “should” be doing, ITS FREAKING FINE.
It was snowy and very cold these past two days and we didn’t get our twice a day doggo walks. That is part of the despair, I think.
But yesterday, our monthly writing group met over, wait for it, Zoom. I cancelled last month’s because it was at the very beginning of this pandemic and I just didn’t have a good feeling about bringing together my best friends in a public place to write. Many work in the schools, including myself. I just didn’t have a good feeling about it. I was right. Within the week, we were in self-isolation.
But seeing everyone and hearing their voices and listening to their writing was a joy.
Today I decided to play a bit and paint this to go along with my writing.
Our prompts were taken from headlines and five words. As always, we can use them however we wish. The rule is no rules. Some came from the Na/GloPoWriMo sight or gathered from the Internet:
Delicate. Spontaneous. Frivolous. Enraged. Narrowed.
Hickory, Dickory, Dock, The Tortoise Played The….
Pablo Escobar’s ‘Cocaine Hippos’ May Be Restoring Columbia’s Ecosystem
Researchers Discover Faraway Planet Where The Rain Is Made Of Iron
Family Colors Each Brick Of Their House With Colorful Chalk