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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NO. 102

by Thomas D. Reynolds

A flood faces from memory
once high water disappears,
slinking out the front door
and down the muddy road.

This last was no worse
than the others I've endured,
for my foundation is strong,
could last another eighty years.

How easily they dismiss you,
avoid you like a cancer.
Toss hedge-apples at windows,
drive slowly just to stare.

Even the man with red paint
whistled as he approached,
soaked his brush in the can,
and slashed numbers on the door.

When the old lady returned
to retrieve her last belongings,
she scurried back to the car
and didn't even close my door.

I apologize for the odor,
bitter mold that burns the nose.
Thick carpet of river sludge,
rotting carpet circling the tub.

But I never turned anyone out
for any bad habit or bent.
The old lady barely kept house,
so she should be used to dirt.

I thought she might understand
what rejection feels like.
No visitors came for months.
Her best friend was daylight.

But no, I'm a grim reminder
of a great human catastrophe,
and so must be expunged,
the sooner the better.

There are still a few items
she needs to retrieve,
a photograph of a child
in stark black and white.

A thin silver necklace
buried in the closet.
She could still find it
with a little luck.

Thomas D. Reynolds received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, currently teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, Flint Hills Review, The MacGuffin, The Cape Rock, The Pedestal Magazine, Eclectica, Strange Horizons, Combat, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, and Ash Canyon Review.