remember: the deluge / by patrick carpenter

A week’s worth of heat had just been lanced and what was relief now turned to deluge. No warning and now everywhere a waterfall. This street Iguazu. Turn the corner Victoria. Further on Niagra. Days before had been like this, with evening spikes in humidity, but then – nothing. Each day ripening, sweltering. Each night unplucked. Cursed.

But now: shouting down in sheets. Erupting. Vomiting.

So then let it come down, drenching. We are exposed. We are not made of salt.

The roads went from desert to deserted. Flash flooded. Pressure and temperature free falling, racing the rain down. Bikes brake mid- stream, drivers dawn plastic parkas and clear off quick. It is coming down too hard for all but the stranded and the taxis, the lights of which hit the pooling gutters like searchlights from a seaplane or a swift boat. Brightest silver, blown out beams. Beams that moved quickly, swooping, saying I’m coming I’m Here I’m gone.

The lightning was here and gone too, in staccato flourishes. The heavens flashing code. Signals echoing back off thunderheads. Two cloudships deep in conversation. Thunder a no-show: there is no percussion, no punctuation. Delayed, like so many trains.

Then suddenly the entirety of the moment. The flash, the cordite, the tearing of the heavens. Like the life-spark in a laboratory, or the shock of forbidden flesh in the corner of a boy’s eye. Blinding, burned into the iris.

The cafes and restaurants were all open and the conscientious ordered out of courtesy to remain at their tables. Sorbet. Tiramisu. Another glass of white. Another round of this.