After two days of TV airlifts and wheels-to-the-sky
and highways sluiced by rivers, cement in chunks,
you silence the raging media—your own flood-wreck’s next.
Where are the schooners to tack across the prairie,
one cumulus huff at a time? Noah’s finishing bean harvest,
Noah has taxes to pay, Noah doesn’t know stem from stern.
You stock up on water, pull toilets, fill bags with sand,
threshold by threshold, but mostly
visit the liquor store. The Someday bridge collects a crowd
until late, a hundred citizens, drinks in hand,
stare down at the gravel, hoping for a trickle.
I’ll just take my pants off, says the divorcee, I’ll wade to work.
She earns her applause. You drive eight miles upriver
to see trees skirted that high, their vigil over, to hear
the cornstalks suck at the floodwater.
Six thousand lightning strikes touch ground
but nothing wet-eth from the sky. The crowd drinks in a hush,
awaiting electrocution, the crowd drops
its rubber duckies when—that caress—
Terese Svoboda’s When The Next Big War Blows Down The Valley: Selected and New Poems was just published, and Anything that Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet appeared in January 2016.