Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Rising tide

Well this is the good life for sure,
up to our waists in waiting, a game of patience.
Nothing's new - I've seen Cold War,
the American dream, whatever that is,
the hate of race riots, shootings, the poor
of New Orleans washed away, ignored.

But I wish they hadn't called it Harvey,
that was my husband's name.
He wouldn't have stood for sitting around,
he'd have filled his head with a ten gallon hat,
got out before he drowned.

More like Hurricane Noah, something biblical.
Funny, I felt it in my water. For a long time
I'd thought I was going under, but ate my grits,
held my head up for another day.
That last infection might have sent me
but as my momma used to tell me:
It's not your turn until the good Lord says.

Still, I'm not used to sitting here in wet clothes,
helpless and in confusion ... yet.
I said to Pearl, I said, we didn't invite this deluge,
but we'll do what we always do - sit tight
and let it all wash over. We're at home
in our comfortable armchairs. Nothing is inevitable.
I miss my shows. The TV stopped working
when we were only paddling. Gert's given up
her incessant knitting, taken to wringing her hands.

I tell my son when he calls: They told us to stay here.
That was the plan. Some plan, he says. I say:
Better here than up on the roof, shown on the news
waving and dying. So undignified

© Clare Kirwan

The story behind the photo of assisted living residents submerged in water

Clare Kirwan was a co-founder of Poetry24 but has been dormant for the last couple of years like a hibernating dormouse / volcano... you choose