The Hailstorm (for Rhiannon)

I stood beside you
while you held your phone
at arms’ length.
On that day, strangely,
the cancer that was wresting you away from me
and over to the other side
in invisible increments of hours and days
was also allowing you one good day,
or at least most of one,
and you loved cloudy skies and
freakish weather.
How you loved them.
It was that afternoon,
as I stood by your side
in the threshold of our front door,
watching you as you watched
and filmed the loud and sudden
hailstorm pounding our doorstep
that I knew I’d have to make peace
with the idea that one bright afternoon,
sometime soon, you would be gone.
I watched as stones of ice
rained down from the hidden sun,
striking up an impromptu bell choir
upon our rusted red mailbox
and the hoods of our cars.
I stood beside you
and I loved that your fascination
seemed to ease your lips into half of a smile
at least for those several minutes.
We both worried about cracks in the glass.
A few days after you died,
I sat with family and friends in a quiet living room
and your best friend cried
when she said that all those years
that pain and sickness had put on your face
were now on mine.
Little dents in the metal.
Tiny cracks in the windshield.
And you’re gone.

Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee, and also as a member of the 2008 & 2014 Albuquerque City Poetry Slam Teams. Rich’s poems have appeared in Gargoyle, Yellow Chair Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, In Between Hangovers, Menacing Hedge, Lotus-eater, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Cultural Weekly, among others, and he has work in the Write Bloody Publishing superhero anthology MultiVerse, which was released in the Fall of 2014. He served for a year as the Associate Editor at Elbow Room Magazine: Currently living Life 2.0.