by Liz Rosenberg

The last day of the Regents exam in high school, and heavy rains come to visit the metal roof of the gymnasium. Wild sounds, like marbles scattering, bouncing above, around.

And the students below are in a murmuring uproar, like a discontented ocean. She feels calm and lucid, listening to the rain. Her mind, that one keen instrument that has taken her so far, is triumphant again.

Her pencil makes its blackish marks, one after another. The beautiful, clattering rain.

In rain he held a black umbrella above their heads and gripped her arm, as if she might otherwise run away. Ludicrous, skinny, boyish man in a long beige raincoat, stopped and clutching at her elbow, baring his bad teeth in a foolishly happy smile.

An old man with more eyebrows than eyes gave them directions, and they rambled up Milk Street as close as two harnessed horses.

In rain she could smell the milkiness and the closed air of the Atheneum, where a boy slept, book open on his chest: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME. And the naked marble foot of the girl and the palpable flutter of desire drowning in rain.

Liz Rosenberg is the author of three books of poems, most recently a volume of prose poems called THESE HAPPY EYES (Mammoth Press). She has also published more than a dozen children’s books. She teaches at SUNY Binghamton.