A man in a boat scoops water
one rounded palm at a time.
His hands are porous. He sticks the tip
of his tongue out of the corner of his mouth
like a turtle. The water rises. It is my father.
He is carrying my elderly aunt across
his shoulders like a yoke.
She is wailing. Her hair is stormy,
but her clothes are matching.
We are in her 93rd Street apartment.
I can smell her skin on the pillowcases.
Flowers are wilting off the wallpaper.
Her silk scarf whirls in the wind. I collect
the parched petals. Curve my hand
like the bent bottom of a boat. Petals leak
through my fingers. The water continues to rise.
There is no boat, just a man
scooping water with his hands.
Front to back. Side to side.