Even the Rain
by Agha Shahid Ali
from his book Call Me Ishmael Tonight (Norton, 2003)
What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.
“Our glosses / wanting in this world”—“Can you remember?” Anyone!—“when we thought / the poets taught” even the rain?
After we died—That was it!—God left us in the dark. And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.
Drought was over. Where was I? Drinks were on the house. For mixers, my love, you’d poured—what?—even the rain.
Of this pear-shaped orange’s perfumed twist, I will say: Extract Vermouth from the bergamot, even the rain.
How did the Enemy love you—with earth? air? and fire? He held just one thing back till he got even: the rain.
This is God’s site for a new house of executions? You swear by the Bible, Despot, even the rain?
After the bones—those flowers—this was found in the urn: The lost river, ashes from the ghat, even the rain.
What was I to prophesy if not the end of the world? A salt pillar for the lonely lot, even the rain.
How the air raged, desperate, streaming the earth with flames— To help burn down my house, Fire sought even the rain.
He would raze the mountains, he would level the waves; he would, to smooth his epic plot, even the rain.
New York belongs at daybreak to only me, just me— To make this claim Memory’s brought even the rain.
They’ve found the knife that killed you, but whose prints are these? No one has such small hands, Shahid, not even the rain.