After the Flood

by williamkupinse

I slide the patio door shut
and emerge for the first time this year
barefoot. I run my toe across
the bristling moss that mortars the wet brick.
The air holds everything.
With one damp breath I taste warm tea
swirling with milk and sugar.
The next breath brings an acrid whiff
of nineteenth-century lacquered
museum bones. I close my eyes
and see the dance of paper leaves
on a schoolroom window,
an oaktag choreography
I never could follow. 

I turn to see the river, high but ebbing.
Yesterday I watched it rise to meet the road
and told myself to think about it later—how it bathed
the birches’ swollen knees, how it widened before the road,
how it tried everything before spilling over.
Now, this morning, the sun’s not breaking through,
though it might. Beyond the river, a fallow field
luxuriates in its muddy stubble, cradling chance seeds.
What will the summer bring? Club mosses edging the path,
grassy stretches salted with dandelions.
What joy those days will be,
now that worry nearly has left me.