This Trip

Richard Cole

Third day of the hurricane
and the whole world is flooded,
people huddled on rooftops,
and that’s how the father and son
arrive, in an outboard,
and the people clamber down,
stiff-legged, shivering, so many souls
loading the boat that the son says
I’ll get out and he trades places
with the last ones so all are saved
this trip. The father nods,
makes a promise and heads upriver,
leaving his son behind,
surrounded by rising water,
waiting in the steady rain
for the empty boat to return.

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