veins of lightning
flash their warning
to the earth …
the silent rivers
that daily course through me
Despite the rain, we have all the hope of safely arriving home this spring afternoon. But then the heavens open wide. Sky soon blends into road, which blends into flash-floodwater. A massive wash of gray, a lengthy line of traffic.
We make the decision to turn around in our tiny vehicle at the last-possible opportunity to do so—just before the tall pickup truck ahead of us goes barreling through, water up to its taillights. It appears that a second pickup, from the other direction, could be floating. (We later realize this is where the highway dips and that the stream has risen well above the small bridge.) But halfway into the turn, momentary panic engulfs me: could the way back now be as treacherous as the way we were headed?
—FM 1774, Waller County, Texas, USA
—Atlas Poetica, Spring 2017
This event took place last May, about two weeks after my mother's passing and two weeks after the first set of spring rains, which caused much flooding in Houston and the surrounding areas. What a shocker: we heard that a foot of rain fell that afternoon in just one hour. This story is part one. The second part, "No room at the inn," will be posted in a few weeks, once it's been published.