Millennium Flood

Millennium Flood

She at the edge of the seawall, shopping cart bristled with broom handles, lumber, sticks poking through mesh three sides.  Ends sharpened points or eating knives lashed in place.  Black Dog, red rag around neck, quiet in his box on the pullout seat, Black Dog eyes on her face.  Gray tarp lumps of square soft glass unknown, tied down eighteen places:  three, Black Dog seat;  fifteen, broom handles, lumber, sticks.

See her regular.  Watch the wideness around her.  Watch fear in parents, watch want in children.  Want for under the tarp.  Want for Black Dog.  Want of questions.  Watch suits sweats punks pukes respect her.  Look at her, look at her cart, look at her face.  Watch them sometimes see her face.

She at the edge of the seawall, face to the river right there.  Right there almost the top, touch if she reach over edge, bend just a little.  Mudbrown river moving fast logs plastic junk.  High river up to bridges.  Warm places under wet; dry places under drowned.

She her back to me, me watching.  Me rolling Drum.  Whole pack of Drum, whole pack of papers from yesterday asking.  Today me watching her, too.  Red cross painted back her army jacket, dripping blood.  Flowers below, shirt that was dress on someone else smaller, flower dress-shirt hanging out from army jacket, then black skirt torn over brown skirt long over plaid pants.  Tucked in big boots match the mudriver.  Hat knit dark oil over rainbow yarn.


She stands like rock, like mountain, like immense proportion of Life shedding rain while I roll one Drum, then two.  Three to last.  Tuck Drum, tuck done, safe away from rain.  Me watching her back, Black Dog watching her face.  Close like love.

She turns unties, three top, six side, hands under tarp feeling.  Sets jar sweet-hot mustard, Jim and Tammi Christmas 1995 (Refrigerate) on seawall.  Sets piece blue glass that was bowl next to.  Takes off hat, sets with Black Dog.  Undoes belt from cart handle, loops through buckle round right hand.

She face back to river, bend little no touching wall, left hand to mudwater, trace cross on her forehead.  She breath in back deep, cross bleeding red, raise arms.  She loud over river Black Dog watching, she shout,  LORD WHO IS OUR CRYING IN THE NIGHT WHO IS OUR SHELTER FROM SUN WHO IS OUR LISTENING IN THE WATER.  LORD WHO IS OUR CUDGEL AND OUR WHIP AND OUR ONE SWEET SONG.  LORD WHO IS OUR DARK AND OUR LIGHT AND OUR DEATH AT NO DOOR.  LORD WHO REMINDS US WITH FIRE AND WATER AND STARLIGHT I HEAR YOU.  LORD I HEAR YOUR ANGER OF ALL THAT WE ARE IN THE SIRENS OF LOSS IN THE ROAR OF THIS WATER IN THE BREAKING OF METAL AND WOOD AND OF IMPERFECT FLESH.  LORD I SEE YOUR LOVE IN THE EYES OF THIS DOG AND THE LIGHT OF THIS DAY, IN THIS FOOD AND THIS VESSEL AND WHIP.  Her right arm comes down belt strikes legs belly arms, loud prayer over water.  LORD I FEEL.  I FEEL YOUR TRUTH     IN THE LASH OF THIS BELT     IN THE RAIN DOWN MY NECK    IN THE CUT       OF THE WIND IN THE      PAIN      OF THESE SHOES.  Belt drops Black Dog jumps to pick up gentle teeth, low sits watching her face.  Me sit watching her back.  Listening ears both.

LORD I STAND GRATEFUL FOR ALL THAT YOU SEND ME FOR ALL THAT YOU TEACH ME FOR ALL THAT I FEEL.  LORD I STAND HOPEFUL FOR ALL THAT YOU GIVE ME FOR ALL THAT YOU HEAR ME FOR ALL THAT YOU ARE.  She arms down, boots one step to wall, hands big curve to mustard and bowl.  LORD I BRING YOU TODAY SACRIFICES OF FOOD AND OF VESSEL AND FLESH.  I ASK YOU LORD TO TAKE THEM AS IS YOUR WILL AND TO SPARE THE IMPERFECT LIVES OF ALL THESE BEHIND ME AND ALL THESE AROUND ME AND ALL I CAN'T SEE IN THE PATH OF THESE WATERS.  FOR I KNOW LORD THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN THEM GOOD TO BALANCE THEIR EVIL, THAT YOU HAVE SENT THIS WATER TO CLEANSE THEM, THAT SOME FEW WILL NOTICE, AND THAT FEW TURNS TO PLENTY.   She one step back from the wall raises her arms, lowers voice to match water.  Black Dog cocks head listening.  Me almost not hearing over water.  I ASK THESE THINGS NOT FOR MYSELF ALONE, BUT THAT ALL MY RELATIONS MAY LIVE.  AMEN.  Lowers arms, Black Dog watching face stand strong against her middle.  She takes belt, pats Black Dog head not looking.  Strikes belly legs arms slow steady.  Black Dog down watching.

Black Dog watching face like love, me watching back blood dripping.  She stands I smoke we wait.  One inch water more to sacrifice.  Food.  Vessel.  Flesh.




© Loree Harrell;  February 1996