Back to Issue Twenty-Three.

Ars Poetica

BY M’BILIA MEEKERS

 

After Katrina, we broke into our abandoned school,
broke windows, cracked open pomegranates, traced

the water line, extinguished all the furniture
and smudged papers until nothing we touched

had ever bled, or rotted, or grew

black mold like a new skin. We covered it all
in a shroud of white foam, stole what we could,

wrote our names on walls that fell in
like wet bread from the pressure of our hands.

And after all this time, I watch a farmer fill a silo,

the rush of grain against steel, and how it sounds like
the white fog rushing from the extinguishers

that day in the school—my friends spun
the red canisters on the ground

until their faces were blurred by foam

suspended in the air like seeds we tossed from
our own palms and sowed into the floors, the wood

water­logged and warped like soil cut by a plow.
That school is a luxury apartment building now

and all the new tenants are white people

from Massachusetts. There is no moral to this.
When the farmer asks, I climb the metal railing

and look down. Grain glistens at the bottom
of the silo, reflects faces of the drowned.

 

 

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M’Bilia Meekers is a Cave Canem Fellow whose work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in the New Yorker, GuernicaPoet LoreWildness, Split Lip Magazine, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She received her MFA in Poetry from New York University, and lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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