The storm brought the ocean into our home.
Even after the worst of the blowing was over, mother’s body couldn’t survive in the cold and the wet for long. I could only wrap her in a quilt, put her to bed, and wait.
The rainfall had become gentle, and the thunder sounded like a back cracking as I stood over her, knee-deep in seawater, watching her breath slow.
Tiny fish swam between my toes. I remained motionless, my skin puckering as I watched her breath slow, then slow, then stop.
When she died, there was a flicker of lightning, and her soul went into this mouse.
She stays dry by hiding in the ceiling and lives on the cracker crumbs I leave for her on a rafter.
I’ve started a shoebox apartment for her, for when the water goes down. I have a folded sock, which will eventually dry, for a bed, and a threadspool for a table.
Her body, I’ve kept just as she left it – in case she gets homesick.
The rain is now a mist. I sit in a saturated armchair and play solitaire on her quilt by candlelight, waiting for the water to go down, as teeny, tiny fish swim between my toes.
by M. N. Hanson