HOUSE HALF FULL By Amelie Daigle


when you tell it
you must begin by saying
where you were not.

you were not in your house when the water came up.
you do not remember the stench of swamp and garbage
as it poured in.
you did not see it climbing up the stairs
and wonder how far it would rise.

you did not see your mother
pull on rainboots and wade downstairs
to rescue food and water and a toolbox from the first floor

you did not go out on the balcony with your family
and lie in the heat with your tongues hanging out
till your skin turned lobster red and no water was enough

the man in the helicopter
did not tell you to leave your dog behind.
that was not you.

when you tell it
say that you were not in the superdome
without enough food or water
and the cell tower out of commission
and no way to tell your family you were safe.

say: where i went, people were kind.
they did not whisper “go home.”
There were no gangs. there were no fights.

tell them your father still had his job.
tell them your family had money
and a place to live.

when they ask you
say: only the first floor.

it could have been worse.
it could have been so much worse.

By Amelie Daigle


I am a PhD student at Boston College, where I study and teach English literature. My creative work has been published by Niteblade, The Fabulist, The Future Fire, The Colored Lens, and others. More of my work may be found at

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