Poetry: Flood Warning

Forward: Midwestern towns far past their prime have had to find new ways to reinvigorate themselves and bring new people and life. Some develop downtown districts. Some lure new business. Others consider flooding themselves; my hometown was one of these.

Flood Warning


A golden muddle of oil rests in a crevasse, stilled like a little lake in the pavement–reflecting its vermilion value.  Fluid hasn’t flowed underneath its faded yellow skin since 1979—the year of the last and lasting fire.  Oh that fire! Its flames (shown in blushed cheeks, whipping like the hair of the falling) scour for wealth in this half-vacant town, half-full with flunked fathers, graduates of staying, the dying boomers without the respite of willing, white cell young. who just want to be young while the others just want to be old just like this city just wants to be alive and its citizens just want to be dead.

Or are we all awash?  Watery white cells sent from the bottom of the ocean to a beach so dry and hot that wave by wave we’ve evaporated.

It’ll be drowned soon, put down in the June of a swooning summer. Bleached colors or invisible blues, washed out and washed over. Water will flow like time over the blunders of this town, around the daubs on mortar, pulling glue from their coarse, burgundy blocks. Those flakes will float through blues, a different texture, under the surface of a cold reservoir.

This town will drown under the slick, fluid future. I will look out on the silver surface of those waters and think, that was my town.

I will observe the corrosive tombstone, a flecked, blue granite and say,

“I was born underwater.”


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