When the Sabine River was dammed to become Toledo Bend,
our half-blind grandmothers prayed to sunbeams.
When the town was flooded and St. Joseph's became a hospice,
our grandfathers packed dugout canoes with dishes and deer hide.
Portraits of Christ floated out from open windows, their brass
frames already corroding along cattle trying to swim to shore.
One generation later and bass boats bob in the channel.
Orange corks dip and jerk. Fish swim currents toward the sluiceway.
As children, we watched the water flow over the concrete weirs
and dared each other to touch the tainter gates.
Our mothers would call to us from the distance as we stretched
arm and leg over the water.
We ran when a boy fell in and got trapped in the spillway.
Helpless, I imagined him pulled into the vacuum, pressing against
the current. The endless looping, the panic
in his chest. His burning muscles
forcing him to take breath.
We listen for oars sloshing back and forth from history.
We hear how houses drown and boys disappear.
The town speaks of what used to be
and it's in the dry light of warm day
I know we've been dreaming.