The Flood of ’94

The fire ants were the first to know.
Grain by grain
they stacked their hills
five feet high.
Deep reds and brown
towering over my head.
But no one seemed to notice them.
We packed our belongings,
and moved them to high ground,
of our few leftover things,
only an old dusty sofa
turned on its side remained.
We hated that trailer,
and the cinder blocks
it rested upon.
Dust to dust drywall
And textured linoleum floor.
Nicotine stains on pinecone wallpaper,
and we were glad to let it go.
Bittersweet effigy,
because we knew we shouldn’t let it show.
The flood waters being something new,
and none of us had ever seen
anything new.
A last meal was served
on the living room floor.
Unwrapped from cellophane
packages and cut
from cans of tin.
A ray of sun from the open door
leaked in
as Dad poured the juice
left over from the salted meat
onto the carpet,
to seal our fate.
To invite the rushing waters
to come and
wash away this place.
I stood on the bridge
and watched the waters rise.
Looking down at a vortex
I feared that it was strong enough
to pull me in.
I knew she was strong enough
to take down the bridge
and wash it all away,
yet I stood still.

But the flood never came.
And when we moved everything
back into that trailer
the stain from that can of salted meat
A mark in the doorway
of a time
when something almost changed.