in the flood

Three poems by Rusty Morrison

you hide under the blanket
when the clock ticks out caged mice

in the flood

you hide under the blanket
when the clock ticks out caged mice

not minutes but what spirals
on optimistically

soon makes the sound of wool scorched
by endless effort inscribed

with musical notations
written for no instrument

a Braille rips through its page just
for space to reverberate

from behind the closet’s door
your past’s gestures spy on you

exhausted by all the ways
you move their meanings around

in the flood

curve of a banister you
remember as sensation

its turn undulant under
your hand when you wouldn’t go

farther couldn’t see courage
is a privilege earned in

the climb to find some corner
of an attic all the years

you lived there you still ask why
didn’t you right now do it

mount the stairs you heard nothing
in particular stubborn

in your need to leave alone
what’s as yet unrecognized

in the flood

your husband’s face exists where
your exhale ended & your

inhale is premonition
of who you might become if

you see how each breath destroys
what last filled your lungs just as

sky is ransacked by first light
hidden corridors in its

upper stories creak but show
only clouds when you look up

as you reach out to touch it
his face is just wind flowing

through the smoke that makes it seem
for an instance visible

Rusty Morrison’s five books include After Urgency (Dorset Prize), the true keeps calm biding its story (winner of Sawtooth Prize, Academy of American Poet’s Laughlin Award, NCBA, & DiCastagnola(PSA). Her most recent book, Beyond the Chainlink (Ahsahta), was finalist for NCIBA & NCBA. She’s been co-publisher of Omnidawn ( since