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We are on our knees, the floor
littered with puzzle pieces, so many
cardboard palms clutching flood-water
and silt; now any one might match another.

We have just returned from hauling
the waterlogged furniture (cut
by chainsaw into manageable hunks)
out to the pile at the curb. After this

comes carpet, trim, then drywall,
soggy as bread, broken up and
lugged outside in laundry baskets
we’ll never use again. Tonight,

when we are streaked and sweaty,
too tired to carry any more, what could
keep us from looking each other in the eye
and shaking one another’s dirty hands?

—David Oestreich, Findlay, OH