Accounting for the Damage

p
o
e
m
s

Sixty seconds the earth shook beneath their feet

 

God-fumbled porcelain, the colonial palace rushing to pieces in the city center. Atlas

rolls a shoulder in fitful sleep, and hearts crumble. Dazed palm

 

trees studding the horizon, bayonet the sky while soldiers wander upturned roads

traffic patterns bewildered by broken lights. Missing parts. There is the scent

 

of apple-wine, white grape or is that frangipani. Beneath their feet, the dead

unavenged the murmur of sugar whatever else history absconds. Above, streaming

 

ticker tape of heaven besotted with photos though not as many. Video though not

as much. On scene the sound cuts out. In studio, talking heads are gumming

 

the words. Lip-synching the news, pantomime grief. You are the poorest nation they

assure us what they leave unsaid just might kill you. Think

 

we too understand such disasters as natural and forget the ones who preferred shark

and water-lung to hell on earth. Sixty seconds and Anacaona’s hair undone

 

rebraided tight as any noose with the world already winding its watch

 

 

 

and moving on without you

Jocelyn Burrell is a writer and typesetter and the editor of Word: On Being a [Woman] Writer.

You Might Also Enjoy

Brief Lives (IV)

Eliot Weinberger

Vanna of Orvieto
(Italy, d. 1306)
Her heart burned so intensely that she took off all her clothes to pray and still. . .

stories

Agnes Blannbekin

Eliot Weinberger

Austria, 1243–1315 Although called a saint by many, the Vatican never recognized her. She was a poor peasant who became. . .

stories

Further Reading

Heads Up: We recently updated our privacy policy to clarify how and why we collect personal data. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand this policy.