triptych for the water
the thunderstorm inside me travels dangerously. in the beginning it was in the rhythmic sway of my hips, that constant pitter patter of my feet against the concrete in my hometown. it was a lazy summer rain, the lap of the warm breeze against the puddle in my stomach. it was softness and cicadas and there was no fear there, no sadness, only the lullaby of my mother making enchiladas in the next room.
on the second day, the rain came from my shoulders, strong and heavy, and it betrayed me. drops hard like bullets tore from my hands and soles and soul and nothing was left of me but the flood. there is a hole in the kitchen ceiling that was never fixed. we left it as a reminder of the day the water sloshed and overflowed and drowned and left my mother stranded in the next room.
on the seventh day there was only the stillness, so complete, an ocean of what used to be, calm like the eye of the hurricane that once raged inside my skull. it was only the emptiness, the nothingness that the water left behind, the quietude of a neighborhood not yet rebuilt. there is a sogginess that cannot be removed, a mildew, the ghost of my mother’s enchiladas in the next room.
Stephanie Holden (she/they) is a Halloween-loving queer living in New Orleans, Louisiana. She writes about love, trauma, gore, and the self. Her interests are fantasy books, body modification, and the South. Find her work at or forthcoming in Ghost City Press, Cloves, Voidspace, The B’K, Bullshit Lit, Soft Star Magazine, Martello Journal, and elsewhere, or her narcissistic tweets at @smhxlden.