In our basement, soaking mops, felt sops,
fans, and a useless shop-vac. The sump pump’s
conversation, all regurgitation
The old man down the street
tries to clear the storm drain again:
leaves, plastic flotsam, papery slops,
a condom, and one rubbery flip-flop.
Rain by gills, by gallons.
A boorish rain. A brutal rain.
200 drowned nightcrawlers on a sidewalk slab.
Prairie and Elm and Pine streets flooded.
They’ll add more culverts, pipes, retention ponds.
On a city map (hand-drawn, from the county
archives) farms and fields, a crooked line
branching eastward, cutting through pasture:
It shows a creek where John Street is now,
cattails, scouring rush, bluejoint grass,
and still, beside the creek,
a great blue heron with rain-slick feathers
and lifted beak, dour prophet, skewer
of blind, unwary shadows.