The Way My Mother Explained the Rain

Michael Montlack

Oh, I dunno. Heaven's way of washing a filthy planet?she'd say on days the laundry pile disgusted her.So farmers can grow more veggies for us to waste!she'd sing, pointing her fork at my steamed spinach.And the month my older brother ran away: Well . . .I guess sometimes even God needs a good cry.She's gone. But I've taken up explaining things her way.    For example:In 1907, a physician determined a soul weighs 21.3 gramsby remeasuring the mass of recently deceased bodies.And the average raindrop weighs 0.034 grams.Therefore, one soul needs more than 626 raindropsto carry it. Should it wish to travel in the form of rain.    Or:An umbrella is a flimsy shield used to protect your soulfrom the invasion of bodiless souls disguised as rain.    And:I don't own an umbrella because I look better wet.And in case my mother's been trying to reach me.

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Headshot of poet Michael Montlack
Michael Paul Thomas

Michael Montlack is author of two poetry collections, most recently DADDY (NYQ Books, 2020), and editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). His poems recently appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, december, Poet Lore, Cincinnati Review, and phoebe. His prose has appeared in The Rumpus, Huffington Post and In 2022 his poem won the Saints & Sinners Poetry Award for LGBTQ writers. He lives in NYC and teaches poetry at CUNY City College

Cover of Fall 2023 issue of Epoch Journal

Fall 2023

Ithaca, New York

Cornell University

J. Robert Lennon

Managing Editor
Heidi E. Marschner

EPOCH publishes fiction, poetry, essays, comics, and graphic art. In continuous publication since 1947, the magazine is edited by students and faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, in Cornell University’s Department of Literatures in English.

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