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This article is taken from PN Review 62, Volume 14 Number 6, July - August 1988.

Waiting for Rain Deborah Moffatt

They are saying it will rain.

My grandmother started the rumours. She said, just the other day, 'It will rain.' (Or perhaps it was last week, or last month, when she said that it would rain; we don't keep track of the days here.) My grandmother is known for her gift. She can see the future. I say see, but she can't really see, being blind. I should say: she knows the future. Perhaps God reveals it to her, as a kindness, to give her some pleasure in life.

It rained six years ago. I remember rain. The children, most of them, have never seen rain. I tell them how it was: rivers poured out of the sky. The earth, which had been cracked and dry, disintegrated. Houses collapsed. Cattle bellowed and, bellowing, drowned. Lakes formed in the valleys where villages had been. People vanished, drowning or running for their lives. Out here, we all survived. The flood stopped at our doorstep.

I was not prepared for rain, last time, but this time I am ready.

My grandmother prays for rain. She prays all day, every day, and often through the night. She prays for other things, too - not just rain. She prays to every saint on his day. Sometimes Aunt Rosario prays with her. I never do; I don't know how.

My grandmother never leaves her room except at night, when she stands in the centre of ...

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