Christine Taylor

Then the Flood

Already the rain threatens--
my tires graze pools of water
as I make my way up I-95. 

Outside the clinic, the “ambassadors of Heaven” 
scream on crackled amplifiers
but the rain has its own plans
soon fat drops soak through my umbrella
the water seems determined to wash away the filth
and within minutes the street floods. 

When flash-flood warnings buzz on our phones
I don’t tell my team I’m terrified
of being trapped, or worse, drowned--
another patient and her companion are coming
so we trudge through the current 
that has already passed our ankles
the screamers shout we “need to surrender to the living God Jesus Christ”
and all I can imagine is our being swept away
water carrying us to some swampy ditch in Secaucus
where we’ll flounder in muck. 

Then he hits me with a sign that reads “God Gives Eternal Life” 
leans in close
his breath rises in the cold like smoke from a wasteland on fire
whispers that he can end me  

     & I remember being in the dark
choked in a drunken rage
                               by the one who promised to love me most
                 stale whiskey breath hot on my face
           & the pounding, I thought my head would explode
I slipped away on a river
                       there were so many stars. . . 

Yet I’m still so much here. 

I blow him a kiss
that sends him into a fit
surround a patient with my arms
tell her, “Good morning.”

Christine Taylor, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey. She is the haibun editor at OPEN:  Journal of Arts & Letters. Her work appears in Modern Haiku, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Room, and The Rumpus among others.She can be found at Follow her on Twitter @cetaylorplfd.