After Reading an Article About Midwestern Floods
by Sara K. Penrod
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
Print Save Become a Fan
Two years ago you left me
and a broken heater, two beat-up
scuba tanks, and a box of book,
mildewed by Atlanta humidity
and returned to your Midwestern hometown.
This morning's front-page article
tells of floods in the Midwest.
In a corner coffeeshop, I scan
the article and think of you, living
in your mother's dingy trailer.
I search for a list of casualties, look
for any list with your name on it.
I don't find a list stuck between outraged letters
to the editor about the cops who speed
down I-20 at ninety, but I do find
photos of firemen in motorboats,
of policemen paddling canoes around geese
who have taken up residence in cornfield lakes.
Mawkish reporters' photographs show
silt-covered teddy bears, baby dolls
half-sunk in flood water by sodden dresses.
I wonder if trailers float; I wonder
if you now wish you'd taken those scuba tanks
with you when you left, but I don't bother
to look up your number so I can ask you.
I look at my coffee and consider
how much it looks like muddy water.