79. Rain

I remember the green pickup,

coming home in the rain.

From the barn to the house

my father carried me piggyback,

beneath his oil-skinned slicker,

below his wet straw hat.


Cocky as a squirrel,

I looked out across

his shoulder at the dark, wet world

and breathed the smell

of damp straw and

manly sweat, felt the closed-in

warmth of blue cotton against

my arms, the certain rhythm

of booted steps in mud, confident

and steady, and I knew

no pelting rain could fall on me.


He might have warned me, “Son,

listen, other rains will come,

pounding shut your eyes

on highways you’ll never ask

the name of.” (And the miles of rain

I’d know would prove

it true.) But no. Not then.

He gave instead the gift of silence –

bursting like a young oak, fragile

as a bee’s wing – as I

rode blue-cotton warm above

my father’s booted feet, steadfast

in where we chose

to go and how we meant

to get there.

— Mark Scheel
Mark Scheel was born and raised on a farm in rural, east-central Kansas. He served overseas with the American National Red Cross in Vietnam, Thailand, Germany and England and later took graduate studies and taught at Emporia State University. Prior to retirement he was an information specialist with the Johnson County Library in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and a prose editor for Kansas City Voices magazine. His most recent book, A Backward View: Stories & Poems, won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award from the Kansas Authors Club.

2 thoughts on “79. Rain

  1. I enjoyed the images in your poem so much that I read it three times. Your simple description of a dad and his little son spoke volumes about so many things. I’d list it among one of my favorites in the 150 poems series.

  2. Does this bring back memories! Of late-night discussions of my parents from the front seat of the car — she’s fallen asleep, we’ll have to carry her into the house — she’s too big to carry, she can walk. I remember being carried a few times, such a treasured memory, of being loved and protected.

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