Such lovely matter, rain, abundant rain,
though Sweetwater overflowed and Otay broke
I filled your reservoirs as I was asked.
Yes twenty souls were lost, they say, or more;
still Hatfield was upbeat, knowing he’d arranged
the matter of such long-awaited rain Come
from out of nowhere with a digging stick,
his secret chemicals & elemental price
to fill the reservoirs as he was asked.
The rain was free, except his cost per inch.
Did San Diego never read a fairy tale?
Such weighty matter, that abundant rain—
On the Altiplano in a dry December, families
still bake the dough-boy, dough-girl. Seeded children
ask the rain to fill the furrows, reservoirs.
Their teeth are pumpkin seeds, their eyes are beans.
Clothe them in paper, offer them fire.
I filled your reservoir as I was asked
with lovely matter: rain, the banquet rain—
*In 1916, the “Rainmaker” Charles Malloy Hatfield was hired to fill the reservoirs of drought-stricken San Diego by his method of releasing 23 secret chemicals into the air. It subsequently rained so heavily that the Otay and Lower Sweetwater dams overflowed or broke; the number of deaths attributed to that flooding is still a matter of dispute.