Rain Poem

All my childhood it rained.
The tall women in the family
fluttered between the wires
taking out the clothes. And sweeping
towards the patio
the water that flooded the rooms.
We put washbowls and chamber pots
to gather the dripping of the leaks
and when they overflowed we emptied them in the drain.
We went about barefoot with our pants rolled up,
all of our shoes protected on a shelf.
Mother rushed to the living room with a sheet of plastic
to cover the encyclopedia.
The light of the flashes of lightning came through the roof.
Under the flood from the sky
my grandmother lit a candle stub
and her prayers did not let it go out.
The electricity went off all night.
I was lucky enough to have a rubber raincoat
my father made for me
to be able to go to school
without my notebooks getting wet.
I wore out shoes by just putting them on.
One day the sun came out.
My father was already dead.

Translation: 2006, Nicolás Suescún

Jotamario Arbelaez