Blame it on the rain I am,
the rain that swells the creeks
that swell the river. Blame it on the ducks
I am, the oh-so-loyal ones.
Blame it on bad advice:
about crossing bridges, about stepping into water.
Or on the sandy bank; it knows what to ignore,
that (eventually) it will cave.
Blame it on the west.
On the wet noise of traffic at night,
blame it on the grass
that never shuts up.
The past—why can’t we burn it
without setting the fields alight?
On Mondays, I dream about
dry stores of hay, gold and flammable
in a valley ringed by mountains.
• • •
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CHIYUMA ELLIOTT is the author of four books of poetry, including Blue in Green (University of Chicago Press, 2021). A former Stegner and Cave Canem Fellow, Chiyuma teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.