mmHere I am again, on the flooded streets in the neighborhood of gray houses. Wind has torn the roofs away, lifted children into trees with branches bare, twisted and splintered like bones. Water fills my boots. Look, there goes Lisa, floating by in her blue Geo Metro, turning the wheel to no avail, brake lights flashing like Christmas. There’s no stopping her. I don’t try. The top floor of my house is engulfed in flame. I save what I can, but can’t find my signed books or any of the kittens. The sky is orange with an absence of birds. Smoke sings to my eyes. The old man across the street retrieves his collection of antique typewriters, the keys torn off and strewn across the lawn below the rising water, and look, there go all his letters, right down the storm drain. I walk up the block to join Justin and his murdering father and the rotting top half of his mother on their porch to drink whisky from tippy cups. Justin’s the same as he always was: eleven years old and perfectly comfy in the cold, watching broken bits of his home go under. We toast my burning house, take turns jumping from the steps just for the splash.
Derek Annis is the author of Neighborhood of Gray Houses, which will be released by Lost Horse Press in March, 2020. Their poems have appeared in The Account, Colorado Review, Epiphany, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review Online, Spillway, Third Coast, and many other journals.