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A flood of loose-leaf paper swells and overruns the neighborhood drainage ponds, college-rule
and wide-rule flying up to people’s foundations, sheets sliding under garage doors. Some
basements are threatened. No one can use the intersection. Have you got a pen? my neighbor
shouts, over the rustle and slice of paper against paper against house after house. I collect three-
ring binders, so I’m in charge, and everyone wants to know where the emergency shelter will be,
if there will be enough bottled water and clean socks. Wipe your feet, I say. Welcome. I start
handing out bandages and pairs of gloves, while a few towns over they are picking the last of the
flowers and talking about fall. There is someone in the corner with scissors cutting out snowflakes.
The more intricate the better, I say, as I unload cartons of magic markers, the kind that smell like
candy and you remember forever.
Callista Buchen is the author of Look Look Look (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and Double-Mouthed (dancing girl press, 2016). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals, and she is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award and DIAGRAM's essay contest. She teaches at Franklin College, where she directs the creative writing program, including the Carlson-Stauffer Reading Series.