“The Cost of Vanity”

Concern never came
Not when I woke to sound of water
rushing, propelled by vengeful force
Not when I tied the rope to my life vest
and waded to the boat

Never during the ride
as we passed houses that used to be homes
Not even when the boat began sinking
submerged cars reached out like deadly sirens
each trying to take a piece for themselves
calling our craft below to share a shallow grave

Nor when the dogs came
clinging to bits of floating debris
desperately searching faces for familiarity
Not even when lost to the current
and my legs sought purchase on a rolling floor

Not when the helicopters appeared overhead
circling like benevolent vultures
picking us off one at a time
the young, the elderly, the weakest first

Nor during the weeks we spent wondering what was left
laying head to toe with strangers
like sardines in our tin can of a shelter
rationing water and food- civilized livestock that we were
waiting for our names to be called
by someone with a clipboard and an impatiently clickable pen
someone whose clothing still hung neatly in a warm closet

Not even when word arrived, and we returned
Dressed in HazMat suits to enter the wasteland of our home
like settlers on a foreign planet
exploring ruins of a past civilization
studying artifacts and documenting findings
for our overlords in insurance companies
who would name a price for our lives

Not living as a number, waiting for a check
Not turning in vouchers for food, nor
wearing the charity of others on my back
Not when trying to hold my head high
to be brave, a survivor- though nothing felt victorious

Only after, and every day since
when the rains come and the water climbs,
older, I, pack a bag and sit in vigil
watching a quiet doom edge closer
like an angry god that almost took me, offended by apathy
and I pray that my concern will be offering enough

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

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