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Dec 2017
Before the murky waters came
Life was different
Maw-Maw’s red-bricked house sat at the back of our dead-end road
The ever-welcoming glass door with the
Faulty hitch opened up to a two-step stair
Leading down into a living room
Encompassed with the smell of
Cajun cooking
And basked in the essence
Of Family

After the murky waters came
Life looked different
I remember the water whirl pooling into the tops of my
rain boots
As I trudged next door to my aunt’s water-lined house
To comfort Maw-Maw, who lost everything
Her tears falling into the stench-infested puddles at her feet
And jumping right back up in a splash as if they too
Were hurrying to find shelter

The heat of the sun held the
Stench of the monster
That had us all in its grip
Patches of brown grass mocked us
Where the water had decided to leave early
And accumulate somewhere else

Piles of our lives lined the driveways
Mildew fogged up the windows of
Miscellaneous cars and trucks
Which still held secrets that the murky waters left inside
What could be salvaged
What remnants were left
From before
The murky waters came

Floors were ripped up
Walls gutted out
Bricks broke easily under the weight
Of demolition
Our hearts broke easily under the weight
Of the water

I once watched a documentary about horror
Which was described as something that simply should not be
but somehow
is
Horror was the bulging, black molded bar in my kitchen
The scattered furniture in my living room
The stench that took over my senses at the opening of a door to go inside or outside; fresh air forgotten
The fact that my bedroom looked normal in spite of the soggy carpet and the
Drooping painting hanging on my wall,
Clothes strewn across my bed in an effort
To survive

After the murky waters left
Life was different
Life became “before the flood” and “after the flood”
“Hey, how are you,” became “have you heard from FEMA?”
“What are you up to” became “are y’all raising or demolishing?”
Three mountains of bricks down my road became
Trailers on pedestals
The trash, our former possessions, was eventually gone
New replaced the old

Now
life is life
We are thankful for what we have
We still sit on that wooden swing in the shade of the afternoon
And we reminisce of a time before the murky waters came
All the while appreciating the
Now

And we still laugh together
We still cry together
Up in that storm-safe trailer
At the back of our dead-end road
Gumbo is cooking on the stove
And we’re basking warmly in the essence
Of Family
Marlie Lynch
Written by
Marlie Lynch  21/F/Louisiana
(21/F/Louisiana)   
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