You Can't Survive on Salt Water

—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

Related Poems

Old Photographs

On my desk is a photograph of you
taken by the woman who loved you then.

In some photos her shadow falls
in the foreground. In this one, 
her body is not that far from yours.

Did you hold your head that way
because she loved it?

She is not invisible, not
my enemy, 
nor even the past. 
I think
I love the things she loved.

Of all your old photographs, I wanted
this one for its becoming. I think
you were starting
to turn your head a little, 
your eyes looking slightly to the side.

Was this the beginning of leaving?