For months, nothing but rain in California.
Rain in California, as unexpected
as a savant’s first symphony, as kindness
from a forgotten foe.
The oaks lean in, slump tons
of sludge down cliffs, turn driveways
to slides, leave friends
with no egress, cold and powerless
in their beautiful homes.
Be careful what you wish for,
they say, and it’s true:
I’d prayed for this deluge, wanted it
with the skin
of my hunger: the years
and years of the hazed sun—a bane, a thirst,
deeper than a newborn’s need.
Be careful. Be careful, as if wanting
twists a worse fate, desire
spawns a greater greed.
But now, it’s April: supernova
of state flowers, a panoply of purple paintbrush,
fried-egg blossoms tossing their hats to the sun—
just what we wanted: the world
turned cathedral, everything amped,
beauty so obscene, we’re forced to breathe
its jacked cologne—after months of nothing
but moonless dark and heartbeat— we’re drunk,
drought-dazzled, the world’s doors, thrown open.
Nothing to wish for, nothing to need.

About the Poem

The previous three months in California coastal towns have been tough: mudslides, floods, king tides, and oversized waves pummeling the coastline. But now the payoff. Pure beauty.

About the Author

Dion O’Reilly’s debut collection, Ghost Dogs, was runner-up for The Catamaran Prize and shortlisted for The Eric Hoffer Award. Her second book Sadness of the Apex Predator will be published by University of Wisconsin’s Cornerstone Press in 2024. Her work appears in The Bellingham Review, The Sun, Rattle, Narrative, The Slowdown, and elsewhere. She facilitates private workshops, hosts a podcast at The Hive Poetry Collective, and is a reader for Catamaran Literary Quarterly. She splits her time between a ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains and a residence in Bellingham, Washington.

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