By Christopher M. Hannan
The waters broke from the void ahead of first light,
a divinity ripping throughout the trembling flesh
of marshes and the levees’ outdated clay thighs,
masking each mile of St. Bernard Parish.
homes with their cement slabs have floated
mild because the rinds of watermelons you ate as a boy
and chucked into Lake Catherine, swelled to overflowing
via the god that surged into the Rigolets estuary
and left an afterbirth of candy crude leaked
from foundered tanks. vehicles cling like carrion
birds at the maximum branches and torn roofs. Leached
of dust and flood waters, the homes we cross cry out
damaged window panes, duct-taped refrigerators, and a stillness
that leaves us at the useless grass of this
woman’s domestic, like such a lot of thrown bones.
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You think Can’t get caught alone in Black Bay, darkness gaping westward, about to swallow. ” I SEE YOU BOYS OF SUMMER I see you boys of summer in your ruin. Man in his maggot’s barren. And boys are full and foreign to the pouch. I am the man your father was. We are the sons of flint and pitch. O see the poles are kissing as they cross. —Dylan Thomas The gerrymandered sun of June—Gulf clouds barnstorm, dyed dark and faux, hiding white hair. They make you watch for rain but you know black-haired thunderheads in waning afternoon don’t always keep their slick promises.
Never more from you I’ll roam, Little Liza Jane. Best place to be is home sweet home where men can’t wash away. PART 5—TAXONOMIES THE ELEPHANT GRAVES Elephants know a macadam of bone, cracked hips, shin shards, old tusks, and skulls, gravel of pachyderms whose blood seeps through in streams the young ones drink and spray at flies. This road cuts through their marrow like jackal’s teeth and winds in their huge heads like memory. They always find this path by memory bequeathed to them by something in their bones.
Zeus hung him on the rocks he’d struggled up on and an eagle ate his liver every day. Though his guts got ripped apart, he had seen the face of god and his chains smiled in the fires that he had made. Now men have made a steam drill to dig tunnels to keep from bein’ buried by the rocks; but like Prometheus felt pain when he was chewed up on his chain I still hammer, breathin’ stone, to face the gods. They lined me up against that ol’ steam hammer, said Let’s see if you can lick what won’t get tired.