A Rapture That Followed August Rain

By Charles Rafferty

I had left you
in the bed, the sunset suddenly
ablaze. It was as if

the sky were wine
and I'd had a glass too much of it.
Then the reeling began.

Under my shirt
that bruise in the shape
of a bombed-out

cathedral didn't hurt
anymore — the oldest parts
were gold. In the garden

the petunias
were damp in their dirt. If I walked
among them I would have left

footprints. Those purple
sores were untouchable. Already
I was rising like the flame

of something fanned.
Birds called from the crowns
of dripping oaks —

as if to hurry my ascent.

Charles Rafferty received an NEA fellowship in creative writing in 2009, and his most recent book of poetry is A Less Fabulous Infinity. New poems are forthcoming in The New Yorker and The Literary Review. Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.

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