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RAINBOW

by John Updike



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Short storms make the best rainbows --
twenty minutes of inky wet, and then,
on the rinsed atmosphere's curved edge,
struck by the re-emergent sun
in impermanent and glorious coinage,
mint-fresh from infra-violet to ultra-red,
gigantic, ethereal, rooted in the sea
seen through it, dying a bell-buoy green,

it has appeared. And when it fades, today,
it leaves behind on the bay's flat glaze
a strange confetti of itself, bright dots
of pure, rekindled color, neon-clear.
What are we seeing? Lobster-pot markers,
speckling the brine with polychrome.


John Updike is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of nineteen novels. His latest work, Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, "Rabbit Remembered," will be published this month.

All material copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
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