As reported, the floods consumed the brown house in record time and scope. After a week of storms, the river rose forty-five feet, submerging everything from the kitchen cabinets upstairs down to the basement.
The deck looked more like a dock. The pasture, a sea floor. Mud covered everything, except for the books, the couches, the desks, the beds, the painter’s smocks, the vases, the sculptures, the rugs, and floor lamps. All were transported to the shop uphill.
The work was laborious and disorienting. The embroiderist and the novelist gave their hands cleaning. The poets lifted the heavy stuff as poets often do. No one was injured, or harmed. Everyone was displaced.
Days after the river receded, we slept in the brown house, on a plastic covered mattress in the middle of the living room, with the doors ajar, trails of paw prints snaking through the house, and the rain playing drums on the porch wood.
Candles flickered in the black of the window, while my friend slept and I considered the dreams and fears of my childhood, both still very much alive and at odds within me. We woke up early, brewed our coffee, and ate breakfast outside. The painter gave me a book about resistance. The author called it the death wish, that destructive force which rises whenever we consider a long term course of creative action. Incidentally, the residency has survived fifteen years of spontaneous flooding. The creative action continues despite the cataclysm, despite the inevitable resistance of Nature and her subtractive forces. That which gives does take. But let the record show, there is always time to begin anew.
Zoey Shopmaker is a 26-year-old author of novels and poems from Kansas City, Missouri. She has a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Human Sexuality from the University of Kansas. As a woman of queer and trans experience, she focuses the lens of her work on issues of identity, spirituality, sexuality, and nature as they all intertwine with one another. She has been writing since she was old enough to pick up a pen. And she prefers jelly to jam.