that made shade where there was no shade,

added the tapping sound of the rain to our ears.

In the rain the petunias held up, the strangeness

of fragile stem and bright petals, the violet inviolate

it seemed, under the rain that fell until the slurping

was like a tongue going up and down some part of me

I will not name here, not on this page, not in this light.


The slurping like the slurping today, here in this place

where I have barricaded myself for ten years, the bars

on the windows, the back wall a solid stack of giant

stone bricks set before your mother was born, secure

now, I listen to the rain, how it is kept away from me.


If I choose to walk in it, this glory as natural

as undisturbed sex in undisturbed lives, it will feel

and smell like something welcome, something I want--

had I not been undressed, had I not been handled

in the dark and made to know an evil wetness.


At night I wonder how deep my sleep would be

had you known I was in danger and saved me.


"Petunias" from the Government of Nature by Afaa Michael Weaver, ©2013. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.