This Flood

A free verse poem by Joseph Panzarella

Photo by Paul Zoetemeijer on Unsplash

I wrote this poem while hiding out in Austin during the peak of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction over Houston, TX. I returned shortly after the rain stopped to clean out my parents’ flooded home and support those in our community. Hurricane Harvey was only 4 years ago, but the emotions of that disaster should not be forgotten. Climate change will bring more events like this, and more frequently, and a push for sustainable renewable energy, more public transit, and less food waste is needed now more than ever.

This flood filled my heart.

A cup of joy overflowing with compassion

In a city so consistently resilient, we couldn’t help but move onward

What is lost is only an opportunity to find something better in ourselves

This flood filled my heart.

With the teamwork of a city so strong

Diverse with laughter, love, language

We may not always see eye to eye but we look together in the same direction


Houston will not be the same

Houston will be better,

for shame, Harvey

This flood filled my heart.

A catapult of emotion the grand commotion of families uprooted

And reseeded, this city will not leave you without fertilizer

We will help you grow

Show you the difference between a life-ending event

And a life-changing one

This flood filled my heart.

A barrage of boats was sent to break the dawn

Scream from the rooftops

Literally the rooftops

And let the world know that Houston is filled to the brim

With laughter, love, tequila, and tacos

Latinos, African Americans, and Asians alike

And no damn hurricane can touch what our city is made of

Photo by Rome Wilkerson on Unsplash

If you’re so inclined, there are many great organizations doing important land conservancy work, helping maintain our natural habitats, and slowing the impacts of climate change along the way. While we can’t prevent the next Houston flood, we can support the environment around us to better withstand future major weather events.



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