Agnes in the Flood

By Fred Dale

She was only three months in the root

ligaments of New Orleans when the levees

gave up their boundless children,

let them loose in natural reclamation,

and called her back.


New to death, there was nothing yet taken

from her. Blinking into these thoughts of

ours, over the horror for an entire place,

the uncapped grave and where is she?


At the whim of current and wind.


The gentle hand of her God persuading her

through the neighborhoods of her life,

propelling her through the skin of memory

that protects us all until we are ready.


To see it all again. It’s just so unlikely.


Her body indifferent to the watery eyes

of those on porches that have seen

stranger signs this day than passing coffins.

Her own eyes unable to move, or cry.


Hands stricken from signing the cross

above what remains,

she drifts by churches that fail

to walk on water, a miracle

that escapes even them, but not her.



Fred Dale lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at the University of North Florida. He is also Co-Instructor of Arts Inside, a program that teaches art and creative writing to jailed juveniles.

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