Issue Thirty-Six - Summer 2020

The Sound of Rain Outlives Us

By B. J. Wilson

My grandfather, ninety-two, wakes and sleeps again as I read him Keats, but Li-Young Lee holds him for a while. I read, “The Gift,” where the father pulls a splinter from his son’s palm. I read, “Eating Alone,” where the son mistakes a spade for his late father waving in the garden. I read, “My Sleeping Loved Ones.”

And I wonder how to answer what he’d asked me: “Where is the Lord in your search through art?” When he wakes, he chants as if he could still dry the dishes, sunlight in his hands, poets on his lips: You furnish your parts toward eternity! . . . you furnish your parts toward the soul!

He asks me about Jesus in long breaths that feel like his last. Hadn’t He come into my heart? “When I was a boy, Grandpa,” I assure him, again, his eyes too impaired to see that mine have moistened. Then I read from “Rain Diary,” until we hear it fall, patter on the window the poem that lulls us all to sleep.

Copyright Wilson 2020