I.C.E. Wait, Watch, and Listen

Flooded streets with kids

Shovel, concrete, water — shovel, concrete, water

You will never forget the sound of rigid metal scraping into water-saturated gravel

over and over again

salvage

 

Stacking your furniture like oddly shaped jenga pieces —

balancing all things that absorb atop wooden structures

 

you try to muster buenas tardes and a sympathetic smile

but when the chilly water is almost to the seam of your boy shorts

and you see your neighbors eating lunch in waist-deep water on their porch

you inhale your tears and enter her home

 

hike up your pants to your thighs

and slip on your Chacos…

rescuing your pregnant sister’s playpen and mattresses is the least you can do

when all you’ve done is watch the water rise

 

your sister playfully smacks your nephew’s arm for saying: votaría SÍ para la paz y el perdón

and the other two chant U-RI-BE, U-RI-BE

Last night he called you tía and offered to help you pack your things because you made sushi together

 

What sticks?

Four men laughing as they struggle to carry a glass tabletop from chest to knee-deep water

Doña Luisa and her son preparing sancocho in a pot half her size

for all the people who can’t enter their homes

your niece dancing to Disclosure with your earphones as her mother, aunts, and grandmother sleep knowing the water is going down

 

Cydronia’s words:

“In the East, knowing is enough, just holding the consciousness.

Here in the West, we get bothered about what we’re gonna do with it;

we always have to do something.”

Today you are grateful for the knowing, for the expansion of your empathy

You whisper thanks to your neighbors for their laughter and their generosity in the face of floods

Tonight you fall asleep to the water’s glimmer in the shadows of your room

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