Poetry | September 01, 1997


All day we watched it—my mother, brother,

and I—the relentless wrath, the furious

downpour of God. Our zucchini plants

torn loose from the soil, lumber and stovepipe

roiling in the creek. Mid-afternoon

the bloated carcass of a muskrat sped by,

pummeled along in the swill. When the electric pole

threw blue sparks and died, we watched

by lantern light. We had entered that domain

where it is easier to look than not,

where the flood seemed lovely

because it had nothing to do with us.

And strangely enough—walled in

those years by turmoil—we were safe.

By morning the rain had slowed to a patter,

and our stove was working again.

A great, giddy weight had slid off us,

one we hadn’t even known was there.

My mother sang as she flipped pancakes

and I rubbed knuckles into my brother’s hair.

The first white sun thundered in.

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