Today's poem is by Ösel Jessica Plante

Waveland Mississippi, an Elegy

Treaded and unlaced by the cattails the dun-
colored old sneaker lies forgotten and all

things weighing the same in my mind it swims
away like our home in Mississippi which

once unfettered from slab and sky became
part of the storm surge, because "wind-blown

water" is not the same as "hurricane" we'd learn
when our Allstate claim was denied. Before,

we used to hang with Masey, the neighbor's
gardener, and because I was shy and young I'd

take the mondo grass she'd give me to plant
in the too deep gully in our front yard. They're

thirsty, she'd say, the bucket of her voice
dropping its water on me but I'd never plant

anything she gave. Mississippi's always had
something live in its mouth, but after Katrina

I waved to Masey only once by the wreckage
of the carriage house, then went on wondering

about the stray cat I'd fed as our neighbor's car
sat slant across our yard. To think they'd been

angry when our house was built—the metal
roof, the pergola too close to the street, now our

bathtub was in the drive. I reached beneath a fallen
wall and found a loose doorknob. Ten years later

it lies in a basket of magazines, the old number '1'
from our mailbox on the toilet tank. My roommates

don't ask what for. I don't think about my ex-husband
or miss his Navy uniforms or pick-up truck, but from

time to time I revisit the image of that mahogany
front door stained the color of mud. Six panes

of glass I didn't care what the neighbors could see
when they drove by, couldn't be bothered, not when

the peepers grew so loud at night and the pines cracked
like knuckles in the wind, worry making me call

for the dog to come in from the yard. I'd turn off all
the lights in the house and stand watching out waiting

for the rain, the windows open an inch, knowing
I was alone, my bare feet on the cold hard floor.

Copyright © 2017 Ösel Jessica Plante All rights reserved
from Zone 3
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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