Flood By Erin Murphy

photo By Wavy D

*Featured Photography: By Wavey D


 By Erin Murphy 

I grew up in the capital of the Confederacy, my skin darkened only by the shadows of Monument Avenue. Once the James River flooded and the two whitest boys from my high school ignored warnings and tooled around in a canoe until the waters took them. For days, their buttoned-down faces were shown on the evening news as helicopters swooped and searched.

They were found clinging to a tree, muddy and cold but unhurt. More than a house with a pool in the suburbs. More than tuition at a brick college with a cupola. More than a guided hunting trip to Alaska where you camp in a luxury yurt. That’s how much the rescue cost.

They did not think: moonlit bank where my ancestors were unloaded from ships or branch from which bodies once swung. They did not have to. They did not have to question their worth.


Erin's work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Brevity, The Normal School, Field, Southern Humanities Review, North American Review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Southern Indiana Review, and elsewhere. She is the author or editor of eight books, including Creating Nonfiction: Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers (SUNY Press, 2016), winner of the Gold Medal Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award. She is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Penn State Altoona. Her website is www.erin-murphy.com.

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