Never start a story with the weather
That’s what the experts say
But I really don’t care much for rules
Or rulership
Or…
Clocking in and clocking out
Nodding obedience
Feigning allegiance
A puppet on a string
Another bobblehead YES man
Honestly
At this late hour
I am a NO man
(But take away the indefinite article and some would agree that I am no man)
So…
Get over it
It’s appropriate
I’m starting with the weather
* * *
It’s raining today
Our small corner of the world is weeping. Hers and mine. The old neighborhood.
The sun has hidden her face behind couch pillow clouds
Tears, big fat ones, drop from the open mouth of a mailbox, staring in rude disbelief as I pass
What are YOU doing here?
The playground is abandoned.  Mud streaks like mascara down a yellow plastic sliding board.  The chains of a bench swing rattle and rust with a shivery gust.  We used to sit there, she and I, sipping coffee and peppermint vodka, watching the children play.  I think about it today.
I only pretended to be a parent. To keep her.
When suddenly
The sky starts spitting at false impressions
A single car passes. A ripping sound on wet pavement.  Like the delicate fabric of a human heart being torn in two.  I watch as two foamy tracks disappear in the wake. Gone.  The passenger seat is empty.  Only the silhouette of a lonely driver with zero visibility through buckets of water assaulting the windshield like an automatic car wash.  Frayed wipers aren’t enough against such a deluge.
I don’t know where I’m going from here
I pass a street drain.  I think of rats piling on each other, diseased, spreading harm to others.
I’m a rat
A sewer rat soaked to the nasty tail
The rat king
King Rattus
Today is her birthday
Heavy drops splash the streets
A Noahic Flood of judgement
Muting a cardinal’s tweets
Our love bird (that’s what she calls him)
Gone unanswered
Another male with a black face (a thief like me)
Signals for his mate (who doesn’t wear a mask)
A flame of red against the gray blanket sky
His artsy rebellion catches my eye
And for a moment
I admire him until
The cold wind
Reminds me again of
All the lies
Her blue eyes
Spilling over
Bruised dream skies
Thunderous, threatening
Crimson sins, a mask, the missing mate
On this darkening, downpour day
Hard rain
Tanning the albino walk
Erasing a family of purple smiley faces, names spelled in green, a burst of orange hearts, LOVE painted lipstick pink
Drowning beneath a murky puddle
And a yearbook-level promise of
FOREVER
Signed with neon sidewalk chalk
All my talk, talk, talk
Washing down the drain
I gave her a ring
Yes
But here’s the thing
The terrible forecast of our story:
What self-love began, true love must end
SO
Rain, rain, go away
NO
I must go away
I’ll off myself like Jonah
To save her and
Calm the tempestuous sea
I’ve got someplace else to be
Personal accountability…
Adult responsibility…
Raising a family…
No, no, no
OVER
I GO
With a silent splash
Sinking to skull-crushing depths
Not counting the cost
Not yet
Not today
Not yet
Not yet
_________
Andrew Dabar