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Poetry

New Orleans, August 29, 2009

One last Katrina poem, the final praise for what I hated.
I quit. No more a guard dog of damaged goods
chained in the yard, drinking from tadpole puddles,
dragging my doom and gloom down happy streets.

I swear. No more damaged goods, watchdog groups,
or Katrina’s white flags on the cemetery lawn.
No dragging doom and gloom down happy streets
mistaking blue tarps in shreds for battered prayer flags.

Katrina’s white flags on the cemetery lawn
in perfect lines marking the day and marking the dead—
consider them prayer flags, like blue tarps in shreds
announcing our surrender to the waterline.

No more jazz funerals or second-line umbrellas, okay?
No more picking the scab, pressing in secret a bruise,
announcing our surrender to the waterline.
Katrina’s footprint in the garage, let it fade.

Pick away at it—sweep up the muck and move on.
The world was just a dream of molded halls
and welcome mats, Katrina’s footprint in the garage.
Ancient history to you, but always yesterday to me.

It was just a dream—the hallway, its ghost of mold,
crisscrossed, downed power lines, and makeshift boats.
Yesterday feels like ancient history, the last page
in my notebook. I write the lines and my hand shakes.

The last Katrina poem. Stupid praise for what I hated.


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