Writing While it Floods

It’s storming again.

Big, fat rain drops pelting down from the sky.

Violently. They beat against the windows and assault the ground,

like tiny hammers. Worms escape from the earth to crawl their way higher,

onto roads and sidewalks, trying not to drown.

Tiny bumps are rising from the skin on my bare arms

and I tuck them in closer to my body.

I squat down on the splintery boards of our little balcony

and listen to the barrage against the roof and leaves.

The crick has overflowed its boundaries and spilled over

into the baseball field just down the road, past the grocery store.

I know it won’t reach us here on the upper floor of a building that’s standing on a hill.

There’s pictures of cars floating in flooded underpasses on TV,

from the people who were just a little too daring.

Luckily, the motorcyclist in my family managed to get home

before it really started coming down. I don’t imagine bikes mix well with flood waters.

It’s not so bad so far, no kayaks in the department store parking lots this year,

but don’t mention that out-loud, you don’t wanna jinx it.

A bedraggled squirrel tries to climb up under the shelter of our balcony but

ducks back down the fire escape when he sees me there already.

The trees across from where I’m squatting are startlingly green under the grey clouds

and the air is filled with that worm-rain smell that I have such a hard time

describing accurately. Petrichor, it’s called. But it’s mixed with the smell of exhaust and

other human chemicals. The rain here smells different than it did where we used to live.

My mother’s standing in the kitchen and we’re talking through the screen doorway.

We’re waiting calmly for the rain to let up, mildly anxious that

the weather forecasters might be wrong in their prediction that the main rivers won’t

reach flood stage this time around. I’m reviewing, with my mother,

my mental list of which relatives do and do not live in the flood zones right now

and recalling stories from the big flood several years back, when my attempt

to walk to campus was interrupted by my realization

that I wouldn’t be getting through without a boat. It’s starting to let up now

and we’re relieved to see the text messages from my cousin saying they are still dry.

Hopefully, the water will have time to recede before the next downpour comes.

Despite the  anxiety it causes, I’ve always loved the rain.

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You spoke to me

You spoke to me.

It wasn’t what I wanted , but you spoke to me.

Like maybe I was something, but you didn’t mean it.

But I was just another girl, another face, in another place, staring out the window on the bus

with so many faces.

All the people; all of us hoping for another way home.

That we could go home.

Not our apartments or our houses but home.

Wishing that we knew where home was,

wishing that we knew WHAT home was,

wishing that we could change things, but we couldn’t.

And you were like a virus, humming inside me and filling me up,

drowning me,

my salvation came when you looked at me.

But it was nothing.

It was all in my head.

I feel it; like so many others, I feel it.

That sweet, sweet liquid running through our veins and congealing in our heart.

Stealing our last breath off of our tongues as we whisper into the quiet,

up at the moon as it pulls the tide,

as it pulled you and your blood and your heart away from me.

Away from yourself.

But you could feel it, you could feel it in your veins, and you meant it.

You needed to feel it. You needed

to FEEL something.

You needed to BE something.

Waiting for the clock to tick you away.

Waiting for the sky to clear

So that you could see the sun. So that you could see the moon.

Cause the moon always rises and the sun always sets, but sometimes we CAN’T see it,

because of the clouds and street lights and the walls that stand between us.

So we look up into the sky and we know  that there is nothing for us there.

So, walk into the crowd and let it CONSUME you.

And don’t expect for them to know you, when we don’t even know OURSELVES.

We don’t SEE ourselves.

Like we don’t even exist, like we’re just a made-up faerytail in a made-up dream, or

maybe a nightmare.

But the good thing about nightmares IS THAT THEY END.

And then we wake up and we see that it was just a dream, and we forget it.

Like so many things that we forget.

Like so many PEOPLE that we forget.

Like someday you will forget me. But I will not cease to exist.

I will still be here watching you. Watching your smile and the smiles of all the people.

Because I don’t want to forget,

because someone Must remember,

or else they’ll never even matter, or else they’ll be nothing.

Because it’s a struggle to exist,

it’s a struggle to be something. We want to be something.

We want it to be WORTH something.

And that’s what we’re thinking as we argue and we try to make it work,

but we can’t, because it’s broken, because it was ALWAYS broken, and we can’t fix it.

But we try and we try. And we leave pieces of ourselves behind, trying to fill the gaps, but

we keep sinking. So, we lean over the bridge and jump,

But we don’t fly.

Who are you?

I am made of glass

and tiny raindrops,

cinnamon sticks

and blades of grass,

whispers against warm skin

and lions hunting in the meadow.

I am fed by streams

and sunbeams through car windows,

pretty girls who sing off key

and hard liquor at midnight.

I forgot my name

somewhere along the way

and I never did know the answer to the question

“who are you?”

But at least I know what

peppermint tastes like

and what it feels like when the wind tries to blow your hat away.

One day I’m sure I’ll find myself.

Maybe somewhere in a deep, dark woods or

maybe in a skyscraper. But

until then, I guess I’ll just sit and watch my fingers

as they curl in against my palms

like flowers in the evening.

Someone once told me

that the eyes are the gateway to the soul

and I wonder if my changing shades

of hazel are a reflection of how

turned about I am or if

they are a sign that I can change things if I wish to

hard enough. I wonder if I want to change things or if

I’ll lose too much in the process. I wonder if it matters what I want

since things will always change, regardless,

and maybe tommorrow

I will be made of daffodils

and towels drying in the sun and

perhaps I’ll be feeding off of oyster shells

and oreo cookies and

I wouldn’t want to miss that,

now would I?

 

 

 

 

 

Insecurity

Time counts on as

the rain trickles down from

the blocked up gutters.

I wonder if you think of me during the day.

Do I really mean as much to you as you do to me?

I worry that

you will move on from me,

leave me as just a

memory. The place I filled taken up by someone

new, someone better than me, more than me, closer than me.

Am I enough?

I can’t tell what’s real and

what’s just in my head.

Depression or distance? Am I just letting my

anxiety get away with my imagination

again? Have I

driven you away yet?