You knew it would be someone, it always is. Before you try and count the times the Ohio River has seeped into your neighbors houses. Before you hear the push brooms hit pavement with a resounding crack. You, standing inside your dry house, just out of floods reach, staring at origami swans hanging in the thin gray seeping through the window. Before mud dries on one neighbor’s hardwood floor, resembling a subtle ocean wave rippling into wall; a bruise like stain in the corner, dark in the center and fading as it reaches outward. Before you see winter trees reflected in glass roads and rowboats bump against sinking architecture. A breath of fog lingering on morning’s edge. Before your ceiling caves in from exhaustion, and the insects and the insects and the insects. Spindly legs walking on water like the Son of man. Before shutter clicks and crunching numbers. Insurance adjusters in white shirts with sleeves rolled up to elbows, solemnly nodding their heads. Before your nearest neighbor opens her back door and belts out in a baritone a song she had long ago carried over ocean and hill. Before mountains of mud and debris begin to take shape in the distance. Before the history of floodwall is carried to sea. Before pressure washers hum to life and the scrape of shovels can be heard echoing inside houses. Before the headlines count the losses and the news crew wades in the muck and the neighbors tell the story. You knew it would be someone, it always is.


Elizabeth A. Davidson currently resides in southern Ohio and is an MFA candidate at Lindenwood University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in By&By Poetry, Apeiron Review, and Tamsen. Twitter / Facebook

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.