A Record Year for Rainfall

1 March 2018

Sometimes we need ambiguity to make things work.
In the early 1700s, an astronomer in Sweden developed
a scale where water boils at a degree of 0 and freezes
at 100. Eventually this representation will be reversed,
an uncertainty referring both to a finite point

and the interval between temperatures. In 1985,
the BBC would start using degree Celsius in its forecasts.
I almost caught a bird sleeping on top of the wall.
That was around the same time in the 1980s.
I still feel its heart in my hand.

Certain words make us fall silent
because they hearken back to an older conscience,
a raw awe. Like the word fire.
In a recent story, a man converts to the Celsius
and stands in the streets pointing to a confusion

before starting an argument and a conflagration.
No thing off in the distance that cannot
flare into presence, someone said once.
We must somersault into it then,
that presence. Live in it.

Everywhere is water or what smashes
into water. We have to be kind,
buoyant, a house made
of wood. Also, all points
must be rounded off.

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