Then the rain came. The first drops sparse splatter the leaves and make wet circles in the dirt the brown turning to black staining the crooked cement of the sidewalks rebounding up then down again, and like after a long sigh the rush of the downpour coming in sheets a vicious hiss and then a roar without thunder or warning and Bethany sees it not through a window from a sickbed the vicissitudes streaming down a glass pane but as a young girl again maybe twenty-three just married (for the second time) the umbrella at the table of an outside cafe becoming like a mushroom waterfall the rain like a steady pattern of a snare drum she under it as though she sees it not like control an illusion of her mind. And she says:

It is better to be with him outside than to be alone inside I can see it it will happen all over again he will stay then get restless and make me restless we’ll get mad at each other and then we’ll get polite (that’s worse) then we’ll blow up and he’ll go away and then come back and then this all over again like a circle within a circle like how we are with God… an obedient peace then an assuming a falling away and outright denial–it only takes three generations–full circle ’till we’re down on our knees again. Love like sleep–dreams that are not nightmares.

Upon her face the rain streams slow a faint silhouette to the paling east.

I must empty myself. And before I am emptied what I am. And when I am emptied what I am not. And when filled what I never was. I know not what I am. I know not if I am or not. Only the wind and the rain shape me. They are neither empty nor full. And since love is it also is not and rain and wind are was and so also is not. And then I must be or I could not empty myself. And so if I am not emptied yet I am. I am in love… Damn him! Damn the hurt strings of divorce!

And so she waits. She waits for David and Nathan to come back. An April shower in New Orleans. The first year of their marriage.

What burns in Hell is the part of you you won’t let go of. Your self-love burns away. But I am not being punished. I am freeing my soul. If I’m afraid of dying I’m holding on. I see demons tearing away my life. But if I make my peace the demons are angels freeing me from this earth… This earth is different from what it appears to be. What appears finite is ensconced in the infinite, and the infinite is in everything…

Upon the dark ground in the dirt of the gutter adjacent to the crooked teeth of cemented sidewalk the rain drops fall like random smears of a pale fluorescent paint on a blank canvas.