Cassie and the Flood

by Kia Matanky-Becker and Miles Simpson

 

Cassie had creases in her cheeks,
they were wrinkled like fingers that had spent too long in the bath;
Cassie had a leak, she had a tearaway tear duct that was responsible for the flood,
her clothes were soaked through, they stick to her skin like a wet suit.
Every suit Cassie wore was a wet suit,
and her feet flippers as she flopped through the floods of tears
that sometimes rose up so high they kept her trapped inside;
she dragged sleep sandbags out from under the bed to pile in the doorway but those got soggy too
and floated away down the street past the people and the post office and the parked cars, little boats with sandy sails.
Cassie swam after them, but her eyes were waves and riptides
that tossed her body up into the air then dragged it deep below the water.
She opened her mouth to scream,
but it filled with water,
she spat it out, and pursed her lips, a drawstring smile tied in a tight knot.
There was something quite comforting about not being able to scream,
something quite comforting about having a reason for being so quiet.
She smiled at the fish, they smiled back,
they didn’t ask her any questions, they knew Cassie isn’t speaking so she doesn’t drown.
Her mum doesn’t know, her mum asks her lots of question like
You’re alright aren’t you
Everything’s fine isn’t it
Yes Mum I’m fine
When she speaks to her mum, little bubbles form on her lips and burst on her tongue;
the bubbles are cherry flavoured synthetic and sticky like chewing gum that makes you jaw ache and face go numb.
Cassie’s mum is a sunbed mum with a sunbed smile and dry eyes.
She lies in the sand staring at the sun,
she never notices the ocean or the waves that lick around her daughter’s feet.
She doesn’t understand why Cassie keeps floating away.