Northfield, Minnesota,
a flood warning issued at 3 a.m. comes too late for her.
Caught on the wrong side of the river,
alone, unhappy on high ground
she lays down her book The Sixth Extinction,
its glittering story of glittering skeletons
has become too prophetic in this deluge.
All around, people on high ground
fine tune satellite dishes
to catch the latest pictures
of their neighbors stunned faces
as yet another dike gives way,
one more street goes dark,
another dead dog washes up on the lawn.

As the river reclaims its ancient banks,
renews its title to the land
she goes down to bathe in its soft brown hands.
She can remember the morning.
She can remember the evening.
She can remember her neighbor’s dog barking.
She is too young to remember the dry days
of high spring when birds on scarlet wings
flew low under a terrible blaze of stars.
She is old enough to understand the river’s life,
its single unrelenting purpose – return to the sea;
to understand we cannot live like a river.