This photograph is what riverfront lot owners on the Potomac River in Falling Waters, West Virginia woke up to two years ago, when the river crested at twenty seven feet from a normal eighteen feet. You might be able to make out the child’s swing set in the middle, right hand side of the photograph, and what you probably can’t make out are floating coolers, folding chairs, and a sinking speed boat in the distance. My vacation riverfront lot sits a quarter mile downriver from where I took this photograph, where it levels out at thirty feet. We were three inches away from disaster that year until the next flood warning, a few months later.
I glimpse her hiding in the shadows, between a heartbeat and the next faltering breath. Her alabaster skin gives stark contrast to the black satin corset over her flowing black dress. Dark lace and gossamer wings accentuate her onyx eyes. The pale beauty of her thin face, high cheekbones, and stringent jawline frame her luscious lips. She smiles, a smile that would shame the full moon of October, and I forget to breathe.