This winter I watch mudslides take over.
Backyards and highways become impossible.
You’ve never seen this kind of rain,
but I have.
I witnessed the rise as my Aunt and Uncle’s basement sunk and everything they had drowned before their eyes.
I expected to see furniture coupled with refugees
and dolls half-naked, no proper time to dress them.
But instead muddy and torn clothing drifted by, covered with newspaper and followed by their son’s old records.
Later, they dug their pictures out of the mud and tried to rescue the torn boxes of keepsakes.
We all overheard too much talk about property values and wet-vacs.
Seems as if everything was replaceable and I missed the tire swing in their backyard.
Our own basement let loose with spiders and mildew,
but no one went down there anyway.
For days my parents watched anxiously out the kitchen window,
doing dishes they pretended not to worry.
But finally, the rain stopped and no one cared anymore.
The child I was didn’t notice,
my own skin puckered and I floated along.
Armed with my new yellow rain boots, I skipped my way past ditches and occasionally waded through new puddles.
Now I fear for accidental slidings,
and watch carefully every downward step.
The windows are closed, but I think I hear a dripping faucet.
It is midnight, and I get up to hear the rain trying to badger its way in.
My son’s breathing in the other room reminds me of all they lost.
There are only two cities I have ever loved,
New York digs out from the snow,
and in Portland we count the days of rain, half hoping for a record.
After all, it’s just weather.