There was so much noise in the cataclysm
when the waters of anger flowed, rose
rushed in to ruin, divide.
We ran to our separate banks
watched the river
We were afraid we would drown
in those mucky waters
Oh, but here is mud and sludge.
With sunwarmth beating
in drywinds breezing
pick through what it is we want to save.
A child will find her missing toy,
a boy, his truck.
The drenched recliner will mildew, cannot be spared, must go.
We save our photographs of the past
We hug our children, say
Look, we’re alive. We have each other. That is all that matters.
We take shovels. We take buckets of clean water. Soap.
We must hum while we work.
Our children are watching to see if we believe what we say.
Ann Heyse is a retired English teacher who lives in Baileys Harbor. She is a poet, blogger, and children’s book author who never tires of Lake Michigan.