Rain Taxi

by Bernard Henrie
PenShells
First Place, November 2012
Judged by Polina Barskova


Rain follows my taxi from Manchester Piccadilly
to Didsbury.

My mother will be buried in the storm, black umbrellas
keep her dry, a stiff navy dress buttoned to the neck.
A Merlion spits water into falling rain.

Her face wistful like a girl in the Corps de Ballet.

I’ve saved two photos, a speech in Hyde Park
for the suffragettes and a pose marked
Egyptian Camel as she visited the pyramids.

Plunging rain, no relief; half-plugged drains, pelted
zinnias in stained flower boxes, the early light drawn
with a child’s soft chalk.

My empty 3 AM poems. The BOAC bag
of clean underwear pouched on the dresser.

I visit my publisher, the ramshackle offices
are dark as the Muslim Brotherhood just taking
power this month in Cairo.


This poem does some of the most difficult things--writes grief with self-pity and sentimentality. It is full of feeling--but also manages to have "eyes", to mind the world outside of the grieving, hurt self. Admirable. ---Polina Barskova

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