ebbs and flows and
falls and falls and falls
on the crooked pine trees and the roof,
on the old swing set and the black driveway,
on the cold, wet burn barrel and the American flag
at the hundred year old house on Shady Lane
where my parents live
In the basement,
a dehumidifier pulls water from the sodden air,
dutifully filling and re-filling the pan.
Two sump pumps run full time,
a generator stands at the ready.
The water is carried by a snaking black hose
into the low-lying woods surrounding the house
and seeps back in again, later,
like a teenager after curfew, quiet,
up through the cracks in the cement basement floor.
The stone walls
press large boulders against the earth
like praying fists.
It’s never rained this much before
this time of year.
My mother, 72 years old,
raised by practical German and Norwegian folk
on the Minnesota plains,
already sleeps with one eye open to make sure my father,
six years older and soaked years before
by Vietnamese monsoons and Agent Orange,
isn’t swept away into the woods,
over his head.
She now sleeps with the other eye open, too,
straining to hear any absence of the motors,
then the other,
like twin chambers of the heart,
one ventricle pulling in the tired gray water,
one aorta pushing it out, clean and quick.
It’s hard to listen for, it’s hard to hear
And meanwhile the rain keeps falling
drop by drop,
drop by drop,
drop by drop
on the turning leaves,
on the feathery moss,
on the withered corn,
on the rivers already swollen,
already tired of carrying things away.