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“Metal Rain”

by Ken Roy

_

Clouds billow above like black pajama bottoms
Hung to dry in rotor wash.
The arrival of monsoon season.
Unlike football season, there are no parades,
No marching bands,
No floats.
Just us, a band of green men bearing instruments of death and survival,
Marching over a parade route of surprise and suppression.

The sharp smell of ozone assaults my nose.
A spark in the air quickens my step.
“What’s the forecast, Weatherman?”
“Rain. Lots of rain.
Then more rain.”
Later, crouched under a poncho tent
I extend my canteen to collect run-off, and
Light a rock of C-4 to boil the rainwater for coffee.
Short Round, idly plowing the mud with his KA-BAR,
Stirs up the aroma of a godly blood soup of rot and decay.

Days earlier, before the monsoon,
Rain came from clear skies under a broiling sun.
We heard scattered light thunder from a distant hill.
“What’s the forecast, Weatherman?”
“Rain. Metal Rain.
82 millimeters worth of hot hail.
Save your ass.”
I pulled my tin bucket umbrella down past my ears like a prophylactic, and
folded nose to scrotum.
Clouds of rock, dirt, and iron burst from the ground, and
sprayed metal rain with the force of a firehose.
Behind eyes squeezed shut strobe-like flashes detonated a memory—
My father driving my mother and me along the Louisiana Gulf Coast
in the aftermath of a hurricane.
I see coffins drifting through the marsh
Past bloated cow carcasses stapled to barbed wire fences, and
pig snouts bobbing in the water.

I sang a little prayer to myself
Rain, rain, go away, never come back another day.