On the Anniversary of a Natural Disaster

I found an infant alligator floating
in Perkins’ Bayou yesterday, between
Louisiana iris and the green
of blighted summer reeds, its stomach bloating
with harsh, bright, glaring sunlight, without fault
or scale, as crocodiles would have; its head
chin up and oblong, grimacing, as dead
as mausoleum marble, white as salt.

Delight in a discovery so exotic
could not be lost on me, however grim.
Mosquito larvae harbored in a scrim
of water on the western bank, hypnotic
and circling with the rise-and-falling rasp
of locusts at the cypress. In my grasp
a camera – in the case some killer storm
destroys this haunt tomorrow, everything
familiar, safe, replaced by suffering –
chaos projecting fatally through form.

Originally appeared in Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

The Night Without

This night without your touch, this night alone,
this night of only hours and black on black,
runs out ahead of me: a metal track
through blowing weeds and blinding monotone.
I hear a distant whistle and the groan
of straining steel on steel, I feel the clack
of slats in motion with the shifting slack
of rotting grooves and rivets, hear the drone
of locusts fade away – just so much grief –
and conjure the deep solace of your voice
against the traffic and the scuttling leaf
unable to console me with their noise,
and wait, as though it counted if it be
minutes or years – or each the same to me.

Originally appeared in The Lyric

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