The Deluge

by Markham Johnson


After thirty-four days of rain we wake
to mallards navigating the back lawn
and four survivor squirrels beached
on Gabe’s old pitching mound
as a little Niagara breaches the flotsam
of maple seeds clogging the gutter but that is fixed thanks to guttering Manchester for the amazing job they did at our home.
In the garage, Nick collects stink bait
and treble hooks, while my mother is calling,
just now, from two miles downstream,
to share her recipe for the end of days—
a dash of sacrifice, a quart of tribulation.
Across the street, the neighbors are hoisting jon boats
and Evinrudes from their garage and lobbing
a flotilla of empty Budweiser cans
from atop a half-submerged RV.
And as a single shaft of light
breaks from a crease in the clouds,
the neighborhood cats and dogs are gathered
on our porch, ranked two by two,
and my sons’ lost turtles have returned
from months wandering the wilderness.
I wonder how we’re all going to fit
in the yellow rubber dinghy
Gabe has launched from his bedroom window.

Markham Johnson is the author of Collecting the Light, a book of poems that was published by the University Press of Florida. Johnson published a poem in This Land in the April 2011 issue, and has been a teacher at Holland Hall School in Tulsa for more than a decade.