Dragonflies after the Flood
by Joan Leotta
On the porch, stench of mud all around.
Grass, sidewalk, up to the first step.
A dragonfly follows me to the front door
then flits away when we go inside.
My husband grabs a flashlight and
flips on the electricity in the garage.
The air conditioner growls awake.
I press the opener. The big white door lifts
revealing poisoned stinking
mud spread from end to end.
We glance about to gauge
what can be saved, what is
irretrievable from the grasp of the storm.
Dragonfly glides in from the porch.
He has brought a friend.
I try to shoo them out.
“Chemicals, who knows what else,
is in the air here. Leave! Leave!”
They stay. We work.
We cannot breathe the fetid air for long.
About to close the door,
I try again to get the dragonflies to leave.
I think I have chased them out,
but in the morning when I open the door,
I see them, in the middle of the floor,
curled up next to each other,
like lovers—angel faces smiling up at me,
gossamer wings still shining as they did in life.
I begin to cry.
So many have lost so much in the flood
what we have lost, money can replace.
I am crying for the dragonflies.
They survived the storm, the water rising.
dying only in the fetid air after the storm.
Dragonflies, why didn’t you listen to me?
My tears will not revive you.
* * * * *
Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer, expressing her love of words and desire to encourage others on page and on stage. Her work has been published widely as poems, essays, articles, and books. On stage she most often performs folk and personal tales dealing with food, family, nature, and strong women. She has been published in Writing in Woman’s Voice, Silver Birch, The Ekphrastic Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Tema, and others.