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This poem is taken from PN Review 186, Volume 35 Number 4, March - April 2009.

Flood Alison Brackenbury


We are made of water. But we forgot.
For twelve long hours the sky sank down like lead
Without a breath of wind. Rain’s rush swept slates.
Offices dripped; you broke for home, instead
Of cycling, seemed to swim. Drains gaped like graves
Iron lids askew. Cars breasted tidal waves,

One road, brown flood, one, water spouts. Yet this
Was the storm’s lull. Huddled in café’s steam
‘I’ve never seen such floods in thirty years’
Travellers gulped down all hopes of reaching home.
As the winds rose, to dry phones’ sweet sea bells
They left for schoolfriends, cousins, hot hotels.

Then came the panic. For the pumps were drowned.
In wastes of water, taps would soon run dry.
Then people fought in queues across the town

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