2nd place winner of the Streetlight 2015 Poetry Contest.
The water found a home in our wreckage.
Our city, once a bastion of high times—
colored lights on strings, avenues smiling
all year churches, bars, and streets
filled with strutting horns, jerk sauce and hips—
now choked in trash bags
whistling like reeds on a wade-through,
snaring limbs, dragging us down.
calm, we say, dragging strangers
from the rubble. Our founders, rebels, saviors
in bronze and silver
toppled. Straight-backed stoics
fighting silent acid tears,
reduced to river-street ruck
floating alongside bright orange cones warning
CAUTION! UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
It’s hard to think of ruin as opportunity
a disaster undoes our pilings of time.
We’ve grown weary with memories of
bricks scattered like seeds,
but at sunup, red and orange
leak into each other
and we take the rescue boat out
another day to pick up
survivors killing time
on rooftops. Some sob,
hug us, insist things are better
where we came from.
Some see us as mirage,
woozy from the sun,
others, like us,
are too tired for gratitude.
Some days we only pass caskets
emerged from vaults
comes everyone we thought belonged
to the past
to the oak tree
after the flood,
where we stop
to take toll of our tow–
bodies uncovered beneath blankets of stone.
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