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.
M’Bilia Meekers is a Cave Canem Fellow whose work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in the New Yorker, Guernica, Poet Lore, Wildness, 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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