Hurricane Harvey, August 27, 2017
When I was a child, I followed
a nutria up out the ditch, which
is to say we came from the same
place. My little hands smeared
muddy paw prints. My fingers
sunk into a water-swept incline.
I couldn’t catch up to those buck
teeth, to that grey fur & snake
tail all awash in ocean rain. I said
Bye, you. I asked Where you going?
I said I’m scared of this water, too.
A woman rose from that soggy refuge—
orchid bloom & alligator teeth in her
dirty blond hair. I called her mother.
I asked Mama, where you been? I said
I just wanna stay
Her eyes were the severe green
of that dangerous sky. Her body
was covered in ocean—water so
dirty it glistened like a silver gown.
She said I’m gonna wear this storm out.
I learned to love a man the same
way I love the bayou—I got used
to his beauty. How much can you
take for me? How much will you
hold before you crest? I know you
just want to protect me. I can’t stay.
There are two dried petals & 13 teeth
on my daddy’s mantel. He just sits at
home alone, waiting for the dirty water
to rise, to bring all that death to his
front porch. He’d welcome it inside, too,
if he didn’t love sitting in the rain so much.
& he’d leave if he could walk on water,
if he had somewhere else to go.
There’s a tuft of grey fur atop the fence
out back, a thin-scaled tail that hangs &
dips in the silver flow. A voice escapes
those buck teeth. Where you going? it asks.
Copyright © 2018 by Matty Layne Glasgow
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Matty Layne Glasgow is the author of the collection deciduous qween, selected by Richard Blanco as the winner of the 2017 Benjamin Saltman Award and forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2019. Matty’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Crazyhorse, BOAAT, Muzzle Magazine, Collagist, Rattle, and elsewhere. He received his MFA in creative writing and environment from Iowa State University and currently reads poetry for Adroit Journal.
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