By Barbara Lydecker Crane
I’m shivering, girls, to talk about that time.
Gramps and I heard sirens, walking home,
and gasped that awful moment we were sure
it was our front door the firemen came out.
A burst sprinkler pipe on your attic floor,
one called. We’re sorry, folks–you have a flood.
We rushed into the nightmare of that flood–
alarms blasting for an incessant time–
indoor downpour sloshing over floors.
We ran around our condo, grabbing home’s
best treasures, lugging sodden armfuls out.
The chief intoned, I hope you have insurance.
Insurance, girls, is not the same as assurance
that loss can be borne. I crumpled in a flood
as I pictured walls and flooring ripped out,
work to take who-knows-how-much time.
Thank goodness for your nearby home
and your mom, a mainstay; I was floored
by her help. Gramps and I slept on your floor
those first two nights. You said you were sure
that we could stay forevah. It was your home,
though. We had to leave ours after the flood,
put everything in storage. How much time?
We were nomads nine months–not without
our tribe, though. Months in, we flew out
west to your Aunt Sarah’s family. That floor
felt fine (we were sleeping pros by that time).
When Sarah nursed baby Paige, I was sure
that I could feel the ache before my flood
of milk letting down for her, in our home
long ago. That week out west, my home-
bemoaning shifted, as if I peeked out
through a crack and watched the flood
of fears and losses start to ebb. A floor
was framing up beneath me, assurance
of what matters most. There were times
when I’d still wail for the time we’d come home,
but I grew surer that all I couldn’t do without
was family, my floor. That love rushes in a flood.