"Black Umbrellas,"
by Rick Agran

Black Umbrellas
On a rainy day in Seattle stumble into any coffee shop
and look wounded by the rain.
Say Last time I was in I left my black umbrella here.
A waitress in a blue beret will pull a black umbrella
from behind the counter and surrender it to you
like a sword at your knighting.
Unlike New Englanders, she'll never ask you
to describe it, never ask what day you came in,
she's intimate with rain and its appointments.
Look positively reunited with this black umbrella
and proceed to Belltown and Pike Place.
Sip cappuccino at the Cowgirl Luncheonette on First Ave.
Visit Buster selling tin salmon silhouettes
undulant in the wind, nosing ever into the oncoming,
meandering watery worlds, like you and the black umbrella,
the one you will lose on purpose at the day's end
so you can go the way you came
into the world, wet looking.

from Crow Milk © Oyster River Press.


kathryn magendie said...

very nice. very. (see I can leave succinct - tiny - miniscule even, comments ...said as she forces herself to s..to...p wr...i....ti..n........g)

Katrina Stonoff said...

Oh, I love this! The imagery is great, and the whole idea so whimsical (but practical too).

Except for one thing...people in Seattle rarely bother with umbrellas.

JLB said...

That was just what this displaced Seattle girl needed today. Thanks Miss Snark! :)

Anonymous said...

These words are so very, very Seattle.

Moi being a writer of books, poets intimidate the hell out of me. When they're good, they absolutely stun you with their brilliance. When they're bad they absolutely stun.

Rick Agran does the brilliant thing! " . . . intimate with rain and its appointments." I'm a wetcoaster, so boy, do I get this!

jaywalke said...

I agree with Katrina -- Seattle-ites know that only tourists carry umbrellas. A Goretex jacket and a Mariner's cap are the mark of the true inhabitant . . .

Elizabeth said...

Love the story! Love the imagery!

If only there were an equivalent to the black umbrella in Phoenix - something to protect us from the heat. Besides frappuccinos and ice cream which only make us fat.

Sherry Decker said...

In Seattle, we either run fast or find a spot in the parking garage. Once we get inside we don't want to carry a dripping umbrella around. There are always exceptions, but I haven't used an umbrella in 20 years.

Erin said...

Most of the time when it rains here it just mists. No point in using an umbrella to protect you from something as nebulous as mist--it just slips right around the umbrella and attacks your hair regardless.

I once owned an umbrella, given to me by my mother who is from Texas, where rain is an event only foreigners experience, to be feared always. I too lost that umbrella. I think mine was green. I just had no intention of going back to retrieve it.