The flood and its aftermath

Brown waters sweep over the banks,

flood the farms on one side of the river,

the town, on the other.


Squirrels scramble to the tops of trees.

Families eye the rooftops for possible safe harbor.

They wonder, should we leave or stay?

The answer is a cop going door to door.


It’s too late to save

the bedding, the stuffed animals,

the books, the photographs.

The orders are

if it doesn’t breathe

it has no place

on higher ground.


Main Street is awash.

Corn goes under.

Boats drift warily between fallen wires

in search of stragglers.

A cow looks sadly out

over the rising tide,

its dark blank eyes

already dead.


Finally, the water retreats

and though there was nothing we could have done,

we still have our regrets –

like the ruined wedding dress,

that favorite carpet caked with silt

anything that survived the ordeal

in order to be thrown away.



By John Grey