A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2008, vol 4 no 4

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J.S. Tieman



Seven inches of rain in ninety minutes. Ankle-deep water in our basement.

Down a street near here, two neighbors, husband, wife, swept into a tributary of the Mississippi.

Yesterday evening, I drove by. I had to see, had to pray.

This entire block, Wilson Ave. the block my wife grew-up on flooded. There are no lights tonight. A Subaru sideways on a lawn. A basement awash. Water a foot-and-a-half deep on the first floor. Folks empty their homes of ruined possessions. Waterlogged mattress. Muddy bed sheets. Books. Bookshelves. Chest-high piles of unrecognizable stuff someone once loved. Men pause, speak softly, a smoke.

in a freak flash flood
down the street near the corner
two people drowned
I pray for them as I spit
in the damn Mississippi

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