It rains and rains and rains.
Bodies and tea pots, couches and beds, hammers and dishes
washing up in town. When it stops, I’m busy drying out,
busy shoveling out, busy salvaging what I can. So busy
I don’t notice, at first, my kids’ long absences from home.
I think they’re afraid to stay indoors, afraid they’ll again
be trapped by water, that they don’t want to linger in a house
where so much was lost. Books, games, stuffed lovies,
the dog, two cats—all gone, swept away by flood waters.
I follow the kids down the dirt road, across the bridge,
up the ravine still muddy from the storms. I can’t see them,
but their voices carry through the woods. They stop in a clearing
and I creep across a felled tree, drop to my knees and crawl
closer and closer to peek through the leaves. The children
are circled around a stump, focused on a green mossy nest
of miniature babies, maybe four or five of them,
three-inch wriggling squeaking tiny human beings swaddled
in torn bits of blankets from our linen closet. My kids
are holding and shushing and rocking. I feel dizzy, afraid
they’ll see me, afraid they’ll turn to me for help, afraid
they’ll ask to keep them, and I stumble back over the log
and I run, and I run, and I run.
Victoria Melekian lives in Carlsbad, California. Her stories and poems have been published in print and online anthologies. She’s twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For more, visit her website: https://victoriamelekian.com