Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, June 13, 2010

After the Flood

by Jessica Otto


Perhaps this will be the storm that kills me.
Froth and flux
of river’s riptide
rise from your rocky banks
and flood this whole damn town.
The darkening sky
makes the trees smell much greener
before the glutting of the tide
and the tumble down.


While Noah’s sighs
polluted the ruddy beach littered with the bones
of heretics, their livestock
and other land predators the women did what had to be done.
While he thanked god
for the early warning, the strong timber and that he wasn’t
part of the slaughtered multitude
the women did what was expected. They walked around him
like he was just another
corpse, bobbed like spring flowers in a sunny afternoon,
rooted around piles
of driftwood and soggy cloth, picked out the useful things
and made camp.


I closed my eyes and
remembered an image of nature:
the rushing creek bloated

with a river’s flood water;
the one my car floated down
transfixed in a moment of joy

at the thought of becoming a boat.
I opened my eyes and the deluge,
in bouleversement, convulsed

over Tennessee like a vengeful
spirit, holding no redemption or promise
of a beatific purge.

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