Floating books tapped my hip like a dog’s nose the night
father spat on the library and the whole thing flooded.
I would have drowned. I would have sunk like a flashlight
left wandering in the water but brother yanked my hand
before the surge’s lips sucked me in. No use convincing
the water: something larger than Louisiana, larger than
Belle Chasse, larger than the row of churches left wincing
after the first surge, larger than the life-vests in my hand
that father gave me, told me not to lose and that I was stupid
when I had lost them, refused to look at me, talk to me,
wouldn’t even spit on me. Even when I begged, pleaded
for that bullet tasting just as sweet as fresh wildflower honey.
Then came his hand. And anyone who survived it knows
it was God I dangled under, his skinny-kid elbows.