Postcards from Dante’s Descending Belly
- field notes of a disaster response worker
Everything whole is gone. The missiles
of uprooted trees pierce the weathered
walls. Across the horizon the sea drifts off
to sleep, a beast after feeding. The macabre
dance of survival has begun.
Deepfry shanties drag slabs of cat
fish and gasper goo across dunes
of pone dust, greasy tears scalding
the pale shoulders of paper plates.
Bushmeat slow-boils in the backyard
cookpots of dead end bayous, stunted
tubers, rootwads, little skulls and faggots
of bone. Dog packs stalking the ditches,
their green jowls flecked red.
As if my cell phone was a frog gig I circle
the floodplain, hunting for homeless families,
then slink back to my cave, the gristle
of my work caught between my teeth.
I’m from the government
I’m here to help.
Published in Whitefish Review