They raked debris from storm drains just in time
to see the water rise and climb the steps
onto porches, into living rooms,
soaking everything they’d ever had.
In acts of suicide, the children’s trikes
gave up their handlebars’ bright plastic streamers,
spread them out like Ophelia’s hair
as wind and current blew the reeds between them.
I thought of Moses when I saw the doll
bob up among the prickly carex spears,
like a baby coming up for air.
And when the flood was higher than before,
an angry child I’d rescued from a stoop
threw it overboard the boat and spat
and aiming at it threw her sodden boot,
shedding tears of grown-up desolation.