Saturday, September 19, 2020

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld / Scared Hares Weigh the Most

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

By Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

And how that water came that night, we sat freshly washed beside the radio in
the back room, the house suddenly appeared made of cardboard, as though

we had hidden ourselves inside the weekly box of bananas, the roof
tiles chattered. They said: storm moving in from the north. That evening, Grandpa

had driven the cows up onto the dike, not knowing we would later
find them floating like swollen balloons in the water, how we

watched from the stairwell as the carpet rose faster and faster,
everything of value held over our heads: a child, a packet

of Blue Band butter, some jewels. Prayers were heard within houses; fish
made air bubbles under water – whatever happened, God was given

a life jacket in our thoughts. And mud, everywhere mud. The peanuts
we’d eaten beside the radio were now like some of the villagers,

sunk to the bottom; the water was salty and ice-cold, the foam came up
to our navels. Later, when the helicopters shaved low over attics and heads

it became sink or swim, but each time only a few were allowed to be saved,
because, as the soldiers called out: scared hares weigh the most.

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Marieke Lucas Rijneveld / Scared Hares Weigh the Most

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