Poem of the Week | September 13, 2011

This week we are proud to feature MRB Chelko’s [rain pours on the unsold umbrellas] from the series “MANHATTATIONS.” This poem is previously unpublished. Chelko is a recent graduate of The University of New Hampshire’s MFA program and Assistant Editor of Tuesday; An Art Project. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals including AGNI Online, Indiana Review, Washington Square, and Verse Daily. She has two chapbooks, What to Tell the Sleeping Babies (sunnyoutside, 2010) and The World after Czeslaw Milosz (forthcoming from Dream Horse Press).

Author’s Note:

[rain pours on the unsold umbrellas] is the 13th poem in a book length series of New York City poems I wrote upon moving from Somerville, MA to Central Harlem in the summer of 2010. I was, at the time—and still am to an extent—thoroughly overwhelmed by the city, my life, poetry… the series was my attempt to engage my life in real time, and, of course, to add my own whispered harmony to the wonderfully cacophonous and mind-bending chorus of New York poems already in the air.

f r o m   M A N H A T T A T I O N S



rain pours on the unsold umbrellas

hook-up in the bin across the street

three stories down from my window

bright fabrics smashed so tight together resemble

the speckled balls of clay

I rolled as a child across the table

picking up stray color chunks

this is cleaning

this is how new worlds are made

just watch the rain

now two identically breasted women

purchase an umbrella to share their lives beneath

my dog hops on the windowsill

to near them

a sparrow is it

a sparrow

trembles raindrops from its wing

a tiny weather system

in the foreground

my tea steams

with a heat that burns from

what must be

an old place

my eyes

bless the street

the fire escape steps

I must believe

glisten for me