On March 13, 2019, a bomb cyclone hit the Midwestern United States. As a Nebraskan, my home was included in those affected by this "perfect storm". My house was in an area of Norfolk, NE that was evacuated in fear of the levee failing.
This was written as I was waiting for the evacuation notice to be lifted. I was in a small apartment temporarily housing 9 adults, 3 children under the age of 5, and 4 dogs. We returned to our house the next day. Three weeks later, most of the items from our basement are upstairs. My library/office/studio/retreat is filled with totes and inaccessible. I still feel displaced, waiting for work to be done to our house both outside and in the basement. 4-4-2019
I am at work on a Wednesday morning,
having braved the dense fog
and to bring the computer home
because tomorrow is predicted to be icy
and I will most likely not make it
It is raining
and, for the first time in weeks,
Something makes me look at the radar and
seeing more deep green & yellow approaching
I pack up and drive towards home.
Westbound on 275,
water is already flowing across the highway.
I come home to help vacuum water
from our basement,
the walls, wood, and floor soggy.
Ill and exhausted, mentally drained,
I sleep without my pill.
The next morning I am awakened
with a shout and the light.
It does not register in my mind
until my sister calls—
“How are you and where are you going?”
Only a few blocks from each other,
our houses are close to the levee
holding its own for now
but we are being evacuated
just in case.
The mountains of snow are melting
and with the frozen soil
liquid has nowhere to go
along the surface,
This will be known
as the flood of ’19.
My friend calls—
the police haven’t been to our house
but they will.
We need to leave.
My husband insists we go to his brother’s.
So I pack—
and the books
signed by my dead mentor
of course. [“Is that silly?”
I ask my sister]
I follow my husband
until we find the apartment.
I feel meek
So I sit
wanting to curl into a corner
Not realizing how overwhelmed
the small children will fill my brain
my husband pushing
before evacuation has lifted.
I am close to not being okay
I am close to collapsing or exploding
stoic on the outside
I want to scream and cry and walk
my legs falling asleep where I sit
trying to be social
but telling myself
just for now, like the levee,
just one more day.