A Death in the Rain

When I die, let it rain.

I have always wanted to die when rain is all can be heard.

When water pours like glass beads from heavenly hands,

and stands among terraced trees,

and spills down grassy lanes,

and gathers like birds on a windowsill,

tap-tapping the panes.

When I die, let it rain.

Sometimes rain is like dying.

When grey days are long and looming, and clouds conspire upon the drowning of the sun,

and the gloom compounds whatever existential mire

can be tolerated.

When I die, let it rain upon the doorstep of my church.

And let them come from the woods to weep, if they wish;

I suppose every dead man may wish for that.

Let them lurch over me while I feign sleep,

and touch my cold cheeks, and give salt to my bedding,

and press my belly fat

and say I was not so fat, in the end,

and confess to my leaden feet such things as need confessing.

When I die, let it rain as they build me a shrine,

and fashion stern, divine things in my like,

and mine precious stones for my eyes,

and let all atone before me.

(When I die, let there be sacrifice. Put all their necks to the knife. For what is life, without my life?)

And when I die let them not pause to wonder, who was he?

Who was he, really?

Lord, let them forget

I was a fake, like all the rest.

I took a rake, I rigged the vote. I bored holes in all their boats.

All the years I drifted while others swam;

all the years I did as little as the living can

to survive.

Let there be fear,

for no man they knew deserved more to be alive.

Let them consider mortality, let them weigh up the odds;

let them batten their windows when the rain is hurled and hurled from the sky

as if from God.

Because when I die, surely there will be rain. So much rain that nobody comes

and I am laid to rest alone.

Thick, dark rain, like pounding drums,

heavy and choking like oil,

that floods my earthly home,

my final home,

and beats the undertaker while he toils.

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