Andrew Hemmert

The Only Rain

Life according to one article
might have originated on Mars.
But then again it might have originated
anywhere else. I like imagining
a comet passing through
like a garbage truck leaving
the building blocks of life strewn
in its wake. And yes this would mean
we were the collective refuse
of a cold and lonely stone.
Wouldn’t that seem reasonable?
The mountains on Mars 
put ours to shame
but are bereft of trees
and therefore seem immaculate
in the way of famous cat burglars,
being known widely and also completely
unknown. Most things I’ve stolen
I’ve done so on accident,
a book I never returned, some clothes.
I’ve stolen anoles from outside
by way of not finding them
until too late, their petrified shapes
scattered like arrowheads
under dressers and beds.
I’ve stolen time. I am stolen time
in the sense that various things
could have already ended my life
but did not, car crashes,
gas station drugs, drunken swims 
from pontoon boats and cliff jumps 
into man-made lakes, lord knows 
I don’t take enough time to be thankful. 
What do you do 
with the knowledge that you missed
seeing a celestial event like Hale-Bopp
and won’t ever get another chance?
The comet already frozen over again
light years from here,
having not ended the world
or taken anyone with it
away from the slow failure of the sun.
Though it was already too late,
I swept the crusted lizards
into a Mars-red dust pan
and carried them outside,
where the only rain was falling.

Andrew Hemmert is the author of Blessing the Exoskeleton (forthcoming, Pitt Poetry Series) and Sawgrass Sky (Texas Review Press). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various magazines including The Cincinnati Review, The Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review. He won the 2018 River Styx International Poetry Contest. He earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and currently serves as a poetry editor for Driftwood Press.