last night, filling
the backyard like a dirty tub;
the creek crept over its banks,
beneath the slat-wood fence.
The girls screamed to see
their daddy wade out
into the darkness, to see him
bright-lit with lightning flash
scooping the old wailing tabby
from the corner of the yard,
where people who lived here before us
chained their dog in every weather.
I sorted clean laundry, collapsed
on the floor like a tangle of wildflowers.
Domestic concerns flooding over
In the morning, the water had swept away
detriments, sticks and shamble.
A neighbor’s new sod curled up
in patches, skin peeling
under sun. Earthworms writhing to safety.
The pavement of our suburb frosted
with pebble and mud, slicked up
from the drainage ditch, open-belly of creek.
Furrows where the water receded,
taking with it what it could.
And what storms and floods in us
have left the same markings,
rivulets, the same dissembling
of what we so carefully rooted?
Renee Emerson, author of Threshing Floor (Jacar Press 2016) and Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014), lives and writes in Arkansas with her husband and three daughters.
Check out her column on writing poetry, “A Poetry Book, a Notebook, and an Apron” released today.