Dogs 2005

KATRINA
(9/2/05)


the water
started coming into
the house right away
as soon as the storm hit
and the windows blew out
we tried to get stuff
up on tables and counters
but after a while
that wasn't high enough
so we emptied out the refrigerator
and all the cabinets
and put the food
in sacks
but the sacks got wet too
and most didn't make the trip upstairs
but at least it was dry up there
we started running water
into whatever containers
we had
but we started too late
and pretty soon
there was no more water
the electricity
was already gone
and we just had
one good flashlight

the others
decided to leave
after the storm blew over
but I could already see
some bodies floating by
no way was I walking in that
the water would start
going down soon
anyway

they left
but said they would call
on the cell phone
when they got
to a safe place
I told them
I'd wait for them to come back
before really starting to clean up
after things dried out
some of them
were crying
as they waded away
I thought they were just
putting themselves
through a lot of trouble
for nothing
it was better
to stay put

It cleared a bit
and the wind died down
but for some reason
the water was still rising
and was ankle deep
on the second floor
I started looking around
at where I could stack stuff
but after what happened downstairs
I thought I'd better get a lot higher
I drug a chair into the closet
where the opening to the attic was
and managed to get the hatch off
a lot of dust came down
but at least it was dry
nobody had been up there in years
and after I pulled myself up
and looked around
I didn't even remember
what was in those
boxes anymore

it was hard
climbing down
getting some stuff
reaching up to place
it up in the hole
shoving it to the side
then climbing up
to move it around
through the rafters
then climbing back down
to get the next load
I hope that when
they all came back
that they'd appreciate
all the trouble
I went through

when the water
got waist high
I decided to move myself
to the attic for good
the old house was really
creaking and groaning now
it was pretty dark up there
and the flashlight was starting
to get dim already
there was a little light
coming from the hatch
but it was getting dark outside
and that wouldn't
last long

I looked down
into the closet
and saw the water
getting even higher
where was it all coming from?
I should have gotten on the roof
while I had the chance
guess it was too late
unless I swam for it
and I was never
much of a swimmer
I always liked
staying under the water
for as long as I could
but swimming
seemed more like
a controlled
drowning

as the water
forced me into the rafters
I wondered about those other monkeys
and why they had never called
I pulled my cell phone
out of my pocket
but it wasn't working
guess I broke the thing
with all the climbing
around

pretty soon
I was waste deep again
for the third time since
early this morning
I was tired of being wet
I was just plain tired
all I could hear
was water rushing by
outside in the darkness
and the noises from the house
as it tried to stay upright
in the new river
of my neighborhood

as the water
reached my chin
and my head was already
as high as it could go
I wished I would have
gone with the others

hell
I wish
we would have left
this city
in the first place
but the older ones
had survived Camille
and they said
nothing could be
worse than that

I wonder what
they're thinking
now

it's getting hard
to keep my face
high enough
to get any air
sometimes I get
more water than air
and start choking
not sure if I'll ever
get a breath again
I am so tired
that I think I'll take
one long breath
if I can
and sink down
for a while
just to rest
for a minute or so
I used to be able
to hold my breath
for a long time
when I was
a kid

I wonder
how long
I can hold
it now