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This Year of Flood 

in memory of H.L.

Redwood roots feel the Eel
pooling and pulsing,
dammed by February king tides,
over spilling banks,
dissolving fragile underpinnings,
fueling turbid streams.

Flood dispatches downed timber,
loosens fallen logs from the forest floor,
threads the dead among the living,
to join armadas of fast-moving slash
pulled downstream.

As autumn turns to chilly breeze,
falling dust motes trail duff through the grove.
I recognize the flood's reprise
in abandoned logjams
and highwater lines of fine, sifted silt
coating redwoods' coarse-split seams.

Afternoon wind moves upriver.
The treetops begin to oscillate.
I hear them creak and moan,
groaning like moored fishing trawlers,
shifting in the tide,
straining toward the sea.

I flood with longing
to understand,
to be carried free.

Mary Thibodeaux Lentz

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