Flood Alphabet

This entry is part 28 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012


A shimmer of rain, now almost like kindness. In a news photo, a man
bites down on a plastic bag filled with a few belongings. His neighbors

clamber to the roof of the corner pharmacy; others like him, more
daring, brave murky waters to get to the other side of the bridge.

Emergency teams in schools and town halls have hit upon wrapping,
furoshiki-style, relief goods in T-shirts and towels— not plastic bags.

Garbage rising from the sewers with mud and muck: proof disasters
have not so much been authored by providence as human carelessness.

Is there any pocket of the city left untouched? Dams overflow,
jettison everything in the wake of their furious surplus.

Kedges would not keep small craft steady. What else might
loom on the horizon, considering this is only the beginning of

monsoon season? Without power, without drinking water; and
no access through submerged highways. Nights like damp

obis wound around our waists: where is that life
preserver? No dignity for hundreds crowded in close

quarters. My friend says, looking on the internet at pop-up
rooms (hamper-like) in post-earthquake Japan, We should be

so lucky. Where do refugees go when they can’t go anywhere?
The Filipino is Waterproof! We will survive, reads an

upbeat slogan now making the rounds. While that may
very well be true, there’s still the difficult

work of mourning, of cleaning up, of starting over; trusting
xanthic, sickened skins to the sun again, upon its return—

You fish among the tangled lilies and apocalyptic vines,
zeroing in on what possessions water has not erased.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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