welling and cresting

emma nichols on stage singing
at the flood relief benefit concert:
i think of you
every time i hear that
cool cool water
the statistics i am compelled to note

as people share them from the stage about
the flooding in neighboring towns
after the 9 days of rain:
a 500 year flood
followed by a 100 year flood in one week

350 rescues in twenty four hours
by first responders and fire departments
and not one fatality
the standing ovation
for the geeky and sortof humble fire marshall
how something moves through the room
as we, one by one, get to our feet
the fiddle player of the yellow bellied sapsuckers

with the big white flowers in her hair
telling the crowd of 500 or so
don’t feel bad for needing help. anyone. ever. ok?
before singing the love song to her home

before singing the first-for-them cheesy song
bridge over troubled water
which makes her have to step back from the mic
and hold her hand to her chest
in between verses and choruses
to keep it together
which means a good deal of us
in the audience
are trying to keep it together as well
the sadness the comes like a storm

like a wave
something welling and cresting
and how i want to howl
but instead it comes out broken and small:
i’m so sad
i have no friends here
i can’t get anywhere
my job is a piece of shit
i miss that place where i co-inherited land to live on
and care for

orphaned by climate change

the distressed (or distressing?) mew mew mew mew mew
squeaking out from under the cool shelter

of the old-barn-turned-gift-shop porch
which i take as cat speak for
mama? mama? mama? mama?

the tiniest bit of string cheese
i offer in my open palm
to a seemingly bewildered kitty
wearing an asymmetrical pattern
of gray over half of one eye
but not the other
orphaned by climate change i say

about this too young kitten
appearing after the week +
of historic rain and flooding
the cool edge in the air
that makes the hot sun too hot
and the cool air too cool
which is more uncomfortable
(think: cold sweat)
than 85 hella humid sweltering degrees
the days’ sun gathered
in a square poof and shining back at me
from overhead
in the dark hours (coming earlier and earlier)
while i type

a sun is slowly lowering

how i am almost asleep
and mid-treatment and
the vision comes to me
of that red red sun rising
through the begay’s window
from the desert’s frost-covered edges
as seen from the view on my sleeping couch
before i pull my clothes on
and heat the water
for the morning pot of folgers
the kathe kollwitz book open in my lap
while the sky light gets weird and good –
a sense that somewhere behind there
(those dense clouds)
a sun is slowly lowering


the cat curled up inside me curled up on the couch
knocked out from the sometimes tiring state
of being

there must be a current

my two main squeegees keren jokes
about jennifer and i
pushing the muddy flood waters
back and forth in this weird volunteer sport
towards the drain that we occasionally flush
with hosewater
a river that used to fit neatly
under the span of the bridge we drive over
now a stirred up sediment lake
stretching almost endlessly from where we view
and somewhere, there must be a current
but from here, all that brown water
hugging tree trunks and swallowing wild grasses and
rising to fencetops
seems still
too still
the massive piles of clothes
and toiletries
and cleaning kits
and dry goods
gathered at the gays mills community center
a word (unnamed phenomenon) for this: this surplus
(the woman volunteering there says
let everyone know
that anyone can come and help themselves,
not just those who were flooded,
we have so much)
nightmare on top of nightmare i say
nightmare #1 being the wet molding reality
of a flood damaged space,
nightmare #2 being the haunt of
the flooded place we are helping to clean
just happens to be the kill floor
of a small meat processor operation
(pulley hooks that roll along a ceiling track,
plastic bullet shells scattered everywhere,
a hauntingly too-big walk in fridge [freezer?] )
how i plug my nose and breathe through my mouth
despite the dust mask
riding up my nose and creeping
into my eye zone
the alarming weather radio alarm going off again –
after all the flood warnings and the all-week rains,
now, a tornado watch
i’m not even in the flood zone and this
is too much
i say

the bodies of water filling

pond puddle
and actual puddle
i write

accompanying a photo
of the bodies of water filling
with more rain
the sunflower, stalk so huge i like to point to it and say
i grew a tree!!!!
leaning almost horizontally along the ground

how i stand there holding it upright
my bike helmet still on
while jennifer fetches twine, scissors, a tpost, a hammer
and how we both poke holes in our shoes
to right it
pindigo girls: the answer gina gives
in skypegories (scattergories played via skype)
question for the name of a musical artist
that starts with P
and in that same round
my two suggestions for queer bar names:
the pump room

the pantyliner
grey kitty curled and asleep

in the cardboard box on its side
lined with a fleece blanket
on another cool and wet night
over breakfast-for-dinner
we get to talking about death ceremonies
and perhaps the biggest grief of leaving land and community strike me:
the loss of the land i imagined being buried in,
wrapped in a shroud sewed by loved ones
hole dug and hole filled by my community
flowers from the gardens tossed in

the pollinator trifecta

the gray great cat asleep
curled on a pile of papers
on the carpeted floor
in the office
snipping garden-plucked green beans
to fit perfectly
in wide mouth pint jars
lined up stove-side and filled
with garlic cloves and dill flower sprigs
while jennifer tends to
the tomatoes ketchuping
in a big silver pot
while we laugh our asses off
at hari kondabolu’s on-point humor
the pollinator trifecta
as seen out the front window
in the zinnia patch:
and small orange/brown butterfly
soon joined by a tiger swallowtail

from their young branches

the bee that lands on the apple i’m eating
that i respond to by saying
hey, that’s my apple!
all while watering the fruit trees in pots
some leaning from the great winds,
some dangling the rubies of apples from their young branches