ESSAY

Week 5

You Can’t Survive on Salt Water

Kalamu ya Salaam

 

                                 —seven haiku for old orleans—

1.

dead dogs hang from trees

bloated barges sit on the

wrong side of levees

 

2.

dumb pigeons have flown

now it’s people’s turn to perch

roasting atop roofs

 

3.

a caravan of

yellow buses drowns because

the mayor can’t drive

 

4.

official death counts

exclude so-called looters shot

on sight of their skin

 

5.

dry folk uptown hold

their noses, rejecting wet

people’s funky stank

 

6.

things that go bump in

the night: your boat against a

dead baby’s body

 

7.

a son returns, finds

four-month-old bones wearing his

missing mother’s dress