Monday, June 7, 2010



Like resurrected pterodactyls rising from tar,
the birds emerge, dragging sludge-sodden wings.

Behind them, a new set of tracks: triangular valleys
flanked by grooves, like the marks left by skis.

Too heavy to be raised, these wingtips rake across
sand. The birds stumble under the mass placed

onto them, a brown-black cloak, a leaden veil.
It was not our intention to suffocate these birds

with their own bodies. We are so very sorry.
We offer what we can, money, soap emblazoned

with the image of a dove, a steady, gloved palm.
Explosion, detonation, flame, death--we understand

these things. Finite. Spill, too, implies a completed
action, finished, accidental. Infuriated, aching

we watch what we made and keep making,
an unnatural disaster in progress. It is undoable,

it is still happening. What trawls the soul about
this spill, that horrible monster down there:

it is an alien we trapped, a dinosaur that we awoke,
a dark beast we tried to harness. We called out to it.

***Click here to visit the National Wildlife Federation's site. If you haven't already, please consider making a donation.


  1. You might consider submitting a poem to Poets for Living Waters. There are some lovely pieces on the site.

    I will be posting early this afternoon a new poem also about Deepwater.

  2. All the violent natural disasters seem like the earth's rebellion to our own man-made ones. Thank you for beautifully acknowledging pain.

  3. The image and your poem are appropriately horrifying, and the biggest horror of all: we called out to it, we awoke this monster, as you said. This poem deserves a wide readership, so I hope you submit it wherever it can most be read.


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