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Friday, August 07, 2020


by Susan Delaney Spear

“Heavy Rain in the City,” a painting by Dan Haraga.

“Sad news this morning”
reads my daughter’s text,
“Ravi passed last night.”
Ravi, whom I’ve never met.

How to grieve a man
that I have never met
and now will never meet?
I find myself beset

by this amorphous loss.
He would have been
her uncle by marriage—
but for COVID-19.

The weather report predicted
a stiff fifty degrees,
so I decide to run
to feel the angry breeze.

I think I’ll beat the downpour
and quickly change my clothes.
A mile out the wind whips hard,
and the rain’s a drumming prose.                                  

I pass a Starbucks and notice
the vacant dining area.
Oddly, I think of Elijah,
transported to heaven by chariot.

But Ravi’s death was not
a smooth heavenward glide.
COVID victims wrestle death
with no one by their side.

At two miles out, too late to turn
around, large drops pelt
my legs, my bare forearms,
and the unforgiving asphalt.

The water rushes in gutters.
I plunge through its freezing foam.
Drops weep from the brim of my cap.
Run. Three miles from home.

I picture a deluge of faces,    
a flood of decimation,
one hundred fifty thousand plus,
the size of a small nation.

My shirt plasters my ribs.
My shoes and socks—drowned.
Numbness creeps from thumb to elbow.
Run. The storm pounds.

As I fumble for my key,
I say his name aloud: “Ravi”  
One by one they die,
this unspeakable enormity.

Susan Delaney Spear is an Associate Professor of English at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. She is the author of Beyond All Bearing (Wipf & Stock Resource Publications 2018), a collection of poems, and the co-author of The Secrets of English Verse (forthcoming from Spring in November, 2020, with David J. Rothman) a creative writing textbook aimed at advanced high school students and undergraduates.