For an entire month, the Texas sky was nothing but
a broken water-main—and the state that had spent
decades slow-roasting over a pit of Christian gospel
and light-skinned southern values was suddenly
neck-deep in its own baptism.
Turns out that when you have been this starving for rain,
when you have been dry for this long,
the end of the drought only looks like a miracle
on day one.
By day thirty, our cities are drowning.
I know, now, how easily
skin can turn swampland—
that desert soil is the first to oversaturate,
that it only takes two weeks of proper attention
for my body to spill over.
It wasn’t long after I met you that I became
all flash flood and rising water tables.
Understand what torrential rain does
to a heart in a fifteen year drought—
just look what mother nature did to Texas.
I met you and suddenly there were no more dry-spells.
My valleys sloshed with rainwater;
there was nowhere to put all that sky.
It was all the ocean could do to keep up with us.
It was all I could do to keep my head above water.
There’s a reason you don’t give a starving man
a feast—his body has forgotten
how to be full.
He will make himself sick
with this wanting.
When all that Texas drought met you
I flooded my rivers, abandoned my cities,
soaked rot into the walls of my apartment.
For forty days and forty nights
Texas and I became new seas.
I drowned under the weight of what
you thought was a good thing–it’s been too long
since this was freely given and not something
I had to go searching for in the night—too long
since the sky has been anything but clear.
The storm should have been the end to the dry season.
Instead, it was the start of the flood.
You can’t dump heaven on the drought;
all you learn, is that Texas red dirt
can turn quicksand in an instant.
The end of the drought only looks
like a miracle on day one.
By day thirty, I am all tremor and panic attack,
fear flooding the basement. Your smile–
the place where the sky opens up
— I GAVE YOU FLOOD by Ashe Vernon