only a few puddles and a rivulet. With shoes
in hand, I rolled up my pants and barefoot

stepped into the water. My fingers disturbed
the surface as I scooped up a crayfish,
slippery as crude oil; twitching, snappers clicking,

a survivor of the lost river and drought. I stared
into the seeping water, thought I witnessed
myself between the specks of ash coasting by.

Bubbles emerged as I dipped my fist in, opened
my hand and watched the life in my grasp
stir then disappear in the current.

(Originally published as “Fleeing Home” in Meredian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry)