Was it the same rasping sky that pressed upon me and squeezed out the last poem? Much of summer there was water all around us but not here; to the north it passed, where mint farmers needed it, and to the south along the Interstate it pushed travelers to the airport or on to the bronze glass buildings and brownfields of Detroit.
But what need does the beautiful, abandoned Michigan Central Station have of rain, for instance? Admittedly she was the tallest rail station in the world, a proud poet of the line. Buildings that are alive need to be watered, as much as soybeans and corn. Rain is essential to their elegant symmetry, and resilience; it balances the sun’s tempering. In the cycle of the skies and waters of the world, what loss and grief if too many days spread without rain tapping or beating on their stone and glass! All living things participate in the giving and taking of water.
But what now, why does Central Station’s empty-socket stare facing Corktown need rain? Like backward tears rain streams through glassless windows. It hums like forgotten streetcars, each drop skittering in and out with the persistence of the thousands of persons daily catching a train in Charlie Chaplin’s day, when Detroit was Paris.
When Detroit was Paris! We who are alive cannot conceive of the possibility. Maybe in this is the answer: Rain waters the memory of life as much as life itself. If one pimple of moss or mold blooms in a dark stone corner of a derelict building, there is hope that life, and poetry, may survive and thrive once again.