Amanda Auchter

The Good Friday Flood, New Orleans, 1927

The sky tongues its way into houses,

into hot water cornbread rising
out of the pan. Someone sings trouble

the water, adds flour to roux, parboils
rice. Rosary-fisted, someone kneels

to the floor, says, swallow me back,

Oh Lord. Death, a box packed
with photographs, quilts, trumpets,

song. Here, the river erases each street’s face,
buries houses where they stand:

street-scattered, drowned. Each window
bursts, cowrie shells thrown into the dark

floodwater. Tonight, it wants bodies,

will catch a man who looks
for a dropped cigarette, brand him

with briars, mud, the bones of dead birds,
before raising him against a splintered fence,

tree limbs, a car upended in the yard.

Amanda Auchter is the founding editor of Pebble Lake Review and the author of The Wishing Tomb, winner of the 2012 Perugia Press Book Award, and The Glass Crib, winner of the 2010 Zone 3 Press First Book Award. Her work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Greensboro Review, Indiana Review, Quarterly West, Poetry Daily, and others. She teaches creative writing and literature at Lone Star College.