Dark Waters

They never tell you how brown flood water is,

like thin gravy overflowing a plate;

 

that it’s cold, that it smells like mildew—

or how heavy it is,

as you struggle to push

the car door open against the press of it,

the angry river like a giant

leaning against the car’s side,

that if you do,

the water will sweep in, curling cold

against your legs in seconds.

 

They never mention that modern cars

don’t have window-cranks anymore,

that they can’t be opened without

the aid of the drowned engine—

 

they never suggest

that the highway system’s designed

to channel water

like a mass of tangled rivers—

that we’re living

in a delta that can’t be seen

only inferred

through change over time,

 

or that the swamps

and the hungry ocean

are just waiting to take it all back.