Beth Feldman Brandt

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Flood Stage

When the Mississippi crests far above flood stage,
it eventually floods itself back into its tributaries
and becomes one itself—a tributary no longer
the thing flowed into but the opposite of that,
so there must be a moment or more likely
an hour or possibly a whole day, when waves meet
themselves returning from where they have just
been and, if they were us, they might recognize the curve
of a bank or a low branch and be surprised to find
that they have not made any
progress at all, despite

the swift churn of their efforts that, actually,
are effortless since this is what a river is
meant to do—flow I mean—except now
in the extreme, which is when we show
what we really were all along and maybe
we are not all singsong majesty but something
else entirely that we can mostly contain and even,
most days, make some good out of, which surely
outweighs the days when the currents
overwhelm us.

 

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