This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features a poem by Kelly Schirmann. 

The Rain Will Not Prepare You

People think beauty is something
that should count for or against you
The beauty that reveals itself to others
only in its excess
I jangle my beautiful coins
in my pocket for you
because all survival depends on making
the appropriate noises at the appropriate times
City planners prepare us for this
Daily, silently
The tallest man in your memory
claims that the development
of modern agricultural practices
has led us into this great wide meadow
of men & women exercising their preferences
for one color palette over another
You believe him the way you believe
that in Central America
everyone sleeps in hammocks
alongside warm bodies of water
Information doesn’t need to be true
to grow itself in your body like a peach
& be given as food to whoever, much later
What the world is
is making currency
from an ever-expanding meaningfulness
that carries no weight
You eat from it constantly
You can’t carry it when you leave

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).