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

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

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