During the last mandatory
evacuation, three of my neighbors
decided to stay. They had
generators. One said, I’ve lived
on this street more than thirty
years and nothing really bad
has ever happened. I cooked
all the chicken in my freezer
and gave them a giant tray
of adobo. They took it
to a hotel room they decided
to rent near the airport: more
inland, though in these parts
everything is really a flood zone.
My daughter and I flew to Chicago,
where we have family. It was hard
to believe the color of the sky
there, the bright, untroubled
coolness. The night before we left,
there were no bird or cricket sounds,
no chorus of frogs from the river.
I looked around, not knowing what
to take, only knowing we’d leave
most everything else. In the airport,
some people clutched duffel bags
stuffed with important papers,
photo albums, passports. Children
held soft toys or blankets,
or dogs in pet carriers.

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