Flash Flood by Helga Kidder

Photo by Freddie Marriage on Unsplash

after Marie Howe

It doesn’t matter that the sugar maple is leaning
closer to the house, that the cluster of seeds
I planted yesterday will wash away.

Something doesn’t add up.
The dishwasher still leaks after repair,
wrens nest in the window box, and the cardinal
rules the bird feeder. Another woman
gives her unborn to the knife.

February is too wet. Each day spiders crochet
webs like bridges across the living room windows
I have to unravel. The mailbox shuts its mouth
to good news. The neighbor’s cat prowls in yews.
The flag wraps itself around the pole.
Another soldier is ambushed and gunned down.

The house creaks and settles ghosts.
Weeds shoot up like fences.
Rain lakes in the wheelbarrow, rusts.
We close the garden door, but at night we hear
brisk wind shaking its lock. Another parent forgets
the baby in the car.

Ants squeeze through cracks, trail the kitchen floor.
I watch you cut crepe myrtle to stumps,
then leaving tiny heaps of dirt on the tile inside.
The toaster oven grows crumb-like calluses.
The lamp’s socket hangs loose.
Wet cold lies over the woods.
Another shooter kills six people.

There is nothing we can do.
It is a year no different from any other.
We sit in front of the fire rubbing hands together
as rain floods and drowns wishes,
children and pets.
Nothing can bring any of them back.


Helga Kidder
Helga Kidder lives in the Tennessee hills with her husband. She is co-founder of the Chattanooga Writers Guild. Her poems have been published in Poetry South, American Diversity Report, and Aurorean, among others. She has three collections of poetry, Wild Plums, Luckier than the Stars, and Blackberry Winter.

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