dainty things in blue

Poetry * Photos * Day-to-Day Life

Friday, January 13, 2006

Relief Effort

Another one from Spring 2003...

Relief Effort

The iridescent sheen of maritime
disaster held the landscape under glass
while every child required swimming lessons
and every woman craved bouillabaisse. Men
absconded, bearded with mountain knowledge,
and deigned to bring their wives thick sprays of ferns
for table exhibitions. Summer oozed.
The unctuous bursts of wind refused to settle.

Along an arm of the harbor, a girl
lay drowned, her braid looped on an old crab trap,
the water there no deeper than her knees
when she still breathed. Her brother brought her there
to photograph old rowboats, rotting piers,
and trash that docked itself between the stumps.
She’d swum to get a better shot of tugs
against the backdrop of the smooth green water,

and then? The Gladiolus Ladies from
a church across the county brought cream cakes
and flower boxes. Not knowing what to do—
who did?—for the kids, policemen set up
a water-slide on the park’s only incline.
Twelve sheets of black plastic slick with the stream
from a garden-green hose in the crabgrass,
the children shivered down the hill to mud.


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