by Cassandra Caverhill | In the aftermath.


All the pamphlets say I shouldn’t ask if you remember: summer storms, watching cloud fists unfurl, the time you drew me back from the metal railing, your hands upon my shoulders as we stood hushed, just us. Lightning forked in so many indeterminate directions. Possibilities, I thought childishly. Now, those flashes come like shocks of pain, confounding origin. My sisters don’t ask after you, Dad, or if the Aricept is working; they’re too ashamed to visit while you still know their faces, names. They can’t be certain you’ve forgotten just how often EMS responds to their blackout states. Was God with us then, lifetimes ago on that porch, with a wrath that shook the windows in their frames? Is God with us now, in the aftermath, as the pavement sweats out worms, belly up, in shrinking puddles?

Cassandra Caverhill is the author of the chapbook Mayflies. Her poems have been published internationally across the US and Canada. A graduate of Bowling Green State University’s MFA in poetry program, she lives and writes in Windsor, Ontario. Learn more at

This essay is a Short Reads original.

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