What Happens During A Flood
by Hannah Weiner

In swallows of sea breath
I forget about flannel
the sandpaper on the chin
the goodness which flooded me
but (like any real, good flood) took roots
with it — naturally the good and
the bad steep like stew, and when it’s all washed away
the ground is left sparkling, ripe for honey

the taking was not violent, rather slow
and softened
(like bread, like fingertips in a bath
that prune and unravel and untighten
the bones decalcifying, the gatekeeper abandoning their beloved
pearly gates)

after hurricanes, after disasters, we’re left wondering what was real
with wide eyes we repackage everything that was left
in drawers, and
if we loved it and it stayed, we’re so lucky;
if we didn’t, la di da isn’t life funny, isn’t life grand sometimes?
the music box that plays that song you thought i loved
those earrings you thought were symbolic
the pet you thought erased my anxieties
the phrases you begged to repeat.

during a flood, i wonder what birds do,
if they fly above surveying the rush of water,
or if they float.

Hannah Weiner is a writer living in Boston, MA with her dog (Reuben), her cat (Lou), and her partner (Alistair)