Monologue While Watching the Rain Fall

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Hit play below to hear Daniel Arias Gómez read his poem “Monologue While Watching the Rain Fall” and scroll down for the full text. “Monologue While Watching the Rain Fall is featured in MQR’s Summer 2020 issue.

Monologue While Watching the Rain Fall

la noche había entrado de lleno, anticipada
y enfermiza, con el mismo lento y monótono y
despiadado ritmo de la lluvia en el patio.
—Gabriel García Márquez
         Michelle wakes up
at one in the morning and finds the kitchen
flooded—exhausted, she sweeps the water
out to the patio where it’s raining, then she
goes back to bed because she has to be
at work in three hours.
                                          Next morning, the kitchen is
still flooded. I drive Michelle to the factory
where she assembles sprinklers all day. The streets
are dark, and the rain is still pouring down. I’m
pissed because the rain makes it harder
to see and because it’s been raining nonstop
for the past few days.           Sergio, our maintenance
guy, comes over screaming about how it’s so cold
outside and how, when it rains and it’s pouring
down, it’s raining so whatever, but when it rains lightly
with a lot of wind, oh man.
                           He goes to the kitchen, but he can’t figure
out where the water is leaking from—the dishwasher,
the sink, the fridge, almost like the water is magically
appearing, he says, and all along I hear the drumming
of the rain out on the patio
                                                  like an allusion
to the endless flood. We keep mopping the magical
water, and Sergio tells me he was fixing an Irish guy’s
toilet yesterday and that he told him he did a Mexican fix, and
the Irish guy says, what’s that, and Sergio says, it means I
don’t even know how I fixed it man.
                                                     We spend all morning
mopping and looking and moving the fridge, and he keeps
saying he’s lost and freaking out and saying this one went
south of the border and beam me up Scotty and Santo
Dios and he keeps singing the same two words
from some song in Spanish—Mi Corazón—with the last
syllable of heart held out in a flat, whining note, Mi
Corazón, over and over, and the rain
                                          outside keeps on falling until he
finally says the water must be coming from the roof and through
the walls and behind the cabinets. He puts on
a yellow jumpsuit and climbs to the roof and covers
it with tarpaulin.           The next day I drive Michelle to
the factory. Then Sergio comes over and sees the kitchen
is still flooded, and he says that last night he dreamt
a giant wave of water, like a tsunami, you know, was coming in
and he was trying to stop it but he couldn’t, and he
says that since it’s not the roof then it’s gotta be
a busted pipe. He starts tearing the cabinets apart, cutting
through them and through the wall, and all along I
keep hearing the water on the patio and Sergio
mumbling Padre Santo and Señor Padre and Mi Corazón,
and he asks me if he can put on some music
while he works and I say, sure, but when he puts on
a Christian rock station I think if I would have known
I would’ve said no.      Then, as he cuts the wood of
the cabinets and breaks them down into a pile
of boards on the floor
                                                    I think of Sergio, my music
teacher in Mexico teaching me the Greek
modes on the guitar—Ionian, Dorian, Mixolydian, how
jazz musicians use them when they’re improvising, how
jazz improvisation has to do with freedom and
instinct but also with repetition, practicing the scales
over and over until they’re ingrained
into the muscles.
                                          Sergio fixes the pipe,
finally stopping the water, and says he’ll come back
tomorrow to put back the cabinets.           The next day, Michelle
and I wake up at four in the morning and drive along the desert
-ed streets. I drop her off at the factory. It’s freezing
cold outside, so Michelle’s wearing three sweaters. She kisses
me goodbye, and it breaks my heart when I see her
slouch away slowly, already tired, carrying her
lunch bag—peanut butter sandwich, cut-up
mango, sopa de fideos, oatmeal, and a thermos of green
tea. When I get home
                                       I go into the kitchen. I look
at the stacks of pots and plates and spoons I had to take
out of the cabinets and place on the counter and the stove
like tiny pyramids. I look at the pile of boards that were
the cabinets, then I look into the hole under the sink
and see the fixed pipe that I never even knew was there
digging into the ground, carrying water every day off into
who knows where. I open the back door and listen
to the rain hit the dirt and the branches of our tree, and
I wait for Sergio to come fix this whole mess.