The rain sounds like red beans being poured into a metal bowl slowly forever, one bean hitting the next, the bowl ringing first low then the pitch changes into a little scream of them. The rain sounds like beans being poured from a metal bowl into a measuring cup slowly forever, the way things sound when a large quantity of, say, beans is poured into something smaller and the sounds crowd together quickly, hard skin to hard skin, that chime of gathering you might hear outside a church after a wedding when it is raining and the umbrellas go up and people’s words murmur and mix with the lolls and dollops of rain—beautiful, such nice, you remember, flowers, bride, ours. The rain sounds and sounds, its been at it for a day now like a drum circle with different hands coming and going, new bodies behind each conga, each djembe, each rik, but always, always a beat – beans pouring, dishes clinking in a sink, a faint applause, a drip. On nights when the rain rains and rains we dream of water and nightmare deserts flooding with sand, sand raining, hands clapping, the night coming on with its snakes, the hiss of rain, and apes, rain beating its chest, and then the plodding movement of a leap into a lake from a vine, first the letting go, the drowning in air, before the bottom of the feet touch the muck, the ankles chill, the calf, the knee, the thigh, the unmistakable feel of one’s shorts getting wet, the groin, the belly, the chest, and here’s where you close your eyes, the neck, the chin, and you aren’t sure where your hands are. Your mouth closes, your cheeks bubble, your nose smells a rank summer smell, your lids, your forehead, your hair and there you are fully submersed, subsumed, subsurface in the terrain of fish, turtles, and frogs with the warmish water on top and the cold down below where you kick your feet. It’s been raining for days and when you wake even your elbows feel wet, even your brain, that soaked electric thing that folds in on itself like a thousand question marks, that dot at the bottom of each an idea swirling through the folds like a round submarine nosing itself through underwater mountains carrying inside it a thought about your mother in a boat with you in her lap and the water displaced all around you and you are dry as a feather, as down in a pillow. There’s a perfect wind against your face, and you’re not sure if this is dream or memory or an old photograph you’ve plunged into, your mother’s cat-eye sunglasses above you, her chin rests on the top of your head, the sky goes clear and blue as the mountain lake the boat swirls through, your father grips the outboard’s handle to steer, his other hand shadows his eyes that look past you, over your head, and then the beans pour into the bowl, and you surface, and shake out your hair, trying to swim to shore, while it rains on the lake and you hear the little drum and drip on the roof and the reverie ends with umbrellas and buckets and dew.
Ruth Heithaus from beneath Llanos de Cortez Waterfall in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
© Joseph Heithaus. All Rights Reserved.