Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Year of the Flood

That was the year of the 34th street flood
when the creek overflowed
when Cousin Jenni put on her one-piece bathing suit
and swam across the street.

I was repeating first grade
and walking the curb to school
when I didn't say I was sick
so I could run wild
on the west side of Will Rogers' Park.

Dave was attending Taft,
and later would go to Classen.
You know, Classen is a magnet arts school now.
Dave was studying wrestling
and would come home to show me some moves;
I claimed he was beating me up.

I was such a brat, that year.
The year of the flood.

Dad was a hobby photographer
and would develop the film in the kitchen
late at night
when the moon was dark.
The house smelled awful.
I complained and held my nose,
and dad suggested I go to bed.
But I wanted to stay near him.

That was the year
John Glenn spun the world
I lay on my bunk bed
dreaming of peppermint.

That was the year after the divorce
That was some time
after my six month captivity.

I tried to sneak in after bed time
to catch forbidden TV:
Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone.

That was the year of the flood.
All years flow into that year.

I walked secret paths between houses
and across the slender bridge
to get to my cub scout meeting.

Misshapen soapbox derby car.

That year. The year of the flood.

Most afternoons after school
I would stay with the neighbor.
One afternoon, I came straight home.
Decided to make dad some coffee.
I couldn't get the top burners lit,
so I turned on the gas oven
and threw in a lit match.
It blew itself out.
My eyebrows were signed.
Blisters on my hands and arms.
I watched Dick Van Dyke as I was healing.

That year.
The year of the fated Dealey Plaza
the president has been shot
the world was never the same
my birthday was never the same.

That year, the year of the flood.

The year of fauve finger paints.
The year of Superman and the Lone Ranger.
The year of school yard taunts
and midnight haunts.

The year the creek that ran behind the houses on the north side of the street overflowed
and the waters came as high as our porch
and Cousin Jenni put on her one-piece bathing suit
and swam across the street.

House of the flood

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