Road Hazard

What I thought was a cat
was a sack of sand.
Someone driving
toward the flood
or where they thought
the flood might go.
That by now
was days ago.
Animals, go home.


Copyright © 2019 by Bradley Paul. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 26, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“The various fires in California get a great deal of news coverage, but the floods and erosion that follow—usually months after, when rain comes to the hills that the fire stripped of vegetation—get less attention, mostly because the drainage infrastructure that was built in the twentieth century has made the problem pretty manageable. Still, precautions must be taken during the rainy season; in our area, the county will dump truckloads of sand that the public may use to fill their own sandbags to protect their homes. I saw one such sandbag in the street, and this poem happened. I thought also of the many animals who regularly come out of the mountains fleeing fire or looking for water, and the people who occasionally have to leave their homes due to mandatory evacuations. Fire and water, these two opposite elements constantly pushing all of us animals one direction or the other.”
—Bradley Paul