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Nile rain

A poem.

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Boaters and felucca operators cross the Nile River in Assiut, Egypt.

Ann Hermes

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Droplets hopped inside their perfect circles on the waves.

 Then it all thrashed down in sheets

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 and drummed up a mist above the river:

a real rain for the second time in a week, and rare.

 The sodden fog thickened and formed a bridge

 to the island where not all of the foreigners live.

At the officers’ club on the opposite shore

 a team of ten drenched rowers

 skipped up the slippery slats of the ramp

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 to the boathouse.

 Fumbling along with the long boat and oars,

the red-faced coaches cursed under their shawls.

 Even while the wind was hurling its arrows,

 my personal heroes 

 the fishermen 

swept out in the brightly painted, tipping wooden boats 

to stand barefoot on the stern and let the nets tumble in.


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