The heat and humidity
was oppressive
all week.

The sun glared down
through the watery
haze of mirages
on the dry
cobblestoned street.

But stormclouds
were rolling in,
promising both rain
and heat lightning.

The air was still
and heavy,
enhancing smells
both lovely and not,
like old-fashioned
double roses
and yesterday's garbage.

As the dark clouds
drew closer,
enveloping the city
in sticky shadows,
I could see the heat
had brought out
the lightning
that flashed yellow
and green between
grey and purple clouds.

It never struck the ground,
but crackled
like veins of electricity
through the thick,
muscley clouds.

In the distance,
I could see the linear haze
of faraway rain.

Would it fall here?
Or simply leave us
to the heat
as the clouds fell away
to hot lightning
and the scent of ozone?

Rumbles of thunder
sounded in the distance
and a cool breeze brought
the scent of water and earth.

I hoped beyond hope
that the rain could break
the spell the heat had
cast upon the whole city,
stopping traffic
and sending people
to the refuge of pools
and fountains
and cold museum floors.

My hope was not beyond hope,
and I was appeased
with a few faint, cold drops
on my fevered forehead,
then a torrent
that soaked me to the skin
and cooled the city
from rooftops
to cobblestones.

Rain brought respite,
rain brought growth,
rain broke the heat.

And today, rain brings
new life to those who walked
like the dead
or lay sprawled on dead marble
like discarded playthings.

It brought them all back,
rejoicing in the streets,
dancing down the sidewalks,
throwing aside umbrellas
and coats and singing
to the renewing rain.

As for myself,
I simply looked up
and smiled,
and let the rain
kiss my flushed face
and whisper in my ears
sweet somethings
of hope and rebirth.