Notecard: Rain, John Tranter

I thought about California,
my brother dead on his motor bike,
studying for my degree, Thailand,
a marriage that hadn’t turned out well.
‘I can’t start all that,’ I said.
‘You don’t want to hear about buildings,
and the personal stuff is too complicated.
Let’s go to sleep.’ I didn’t want to sleep,
I wanted to make love to Kathy, but
it all seemed confused and impossible.
‘You can tell me some other time,’ she said.
She kissed me on the lips, and her voice
came murmuring into my mouth. ‘Oh Sandra,’
she said, and she was moving in my arms.

from John Tranter's Rain, via The Paris Review 

What I love about this poem is how the passive narrator disappears, and instead chooses to listen, absorb, and slink away when the moment for her to share her story came. I read the entire poem while queueing at the grocery, marveled at how it’s actually a prose poem – leaning on prose, a very elegant one – and how it revealed the name of the narrator, and the sexual tension between her and Kathy, as if these were the least important parts of the poem. (Or maybe it is?)

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