Flooded Footpath

Marlena Chertock

The hiker-biker footpath underneath main street is underwater,
flooding conditions lasting for days in this town, the clouds deep gray
and fat with rain, puddles gathering in the sunken middle of sidewalks,
the whole campus tilted like a 45-degree angle
and my math grades,
my canvas shoes a bad choice for today and my socks soaked through,
this umbrella can’t protect me from rain whipped into my jeans, eyes, and nose
Please take alternate routes, path not passable
I’m over-informed even when I’m inside,
I might text OPT OUT to stop receiving messages
I stand outside the path, watch the water gush out
like the hemophilic student’s blood in my middle school
that time he tripped in gym, while we played basketball he lost buckets,
and there’s nowhere else for me to go but I want to hold my breath
and swim through the tunnel, kick off my canvas shoes
and stretch my toes like flippers, my fourth toe already a bit webbed,
the tunnel lights like robotic-camera flashes photographing sunken ships,
school administrators, maybe the police, tell me to stay away, go a different way,
but I want to walk into the tunnel’s wall of water,
sit on the bottom and have a little tea party for myself,
then swim-walk to the end and breathe again.


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