9 August 2017

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when the flood came, in generous waves and
pouring rain so cacophonous the pounding on the ground sent vibrations
into every side street and cottage and church, we weren’t scared.
when the river broke its banks leaving the elderly in their properties, watertight
the cattle swept into the river struggling for their lives, and the bridge out of town well, we didn’t know where it was anymore
under the murky water if it were left or right.
we weren’t scared, even though we were fucked, all 2000 of us.

we covered the bodies in tarp, the ones that swept up on the bank,
or were found rotting in the days to come. we told all the children
‘they died peacefully and quick’ ‘they’re in a better place now’
even though we knew it wasn’t true.

we weren’t scared, when our crops drowned
when trucks with emergency supplies couldn’t get into town
we knew it had to be done. we knew we had to pay for our sins
not with a hundred Hail Mary’s, not with our wealth, not with our firstborns or our heirlooms, but with the flood.

– Mina Wallis

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