On a day like this the rain comes

down in fat and random drops among

the ailanthus leaves --- "the tree

of Heaven" --- the leaves that on moon-

lit nights shimmer black and blade-

shaped at this third-floor window.

And there are bunches of small green

knobs, buds, crowded together. The

rapid music fills in the spaces of

the leaves. And the piano comes in,

like an extra heartbeat, dangerous

and lovely. Slower now, less like

the leaves, more like the rain which

almost isn't rain, more like thawed-

out hail. All this beauty in the

mess of this small apartment on

West 20th in Chelsea, New York.

Slowly the notes pour out, slowly,

more slowly still, fat rain falls.

--- ©1972, James Schuyler
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