After Watching Another Video of the Tsunami
Half a city flooded on top of the other,
houses broken apart, whoever
was inside them gone, whether
or not anyone reported them missing
gone because the houses are downriver.
Like papier-mâché once was paper
once these were homes. Many who lived in these homes
don’t care, they’re dead. After Fukushima
who remembers how many died —
many more, we suspect, will die.
Why not watch, again & again
the wave when it arrived, how it damaged.
Just watching it, we’re still alive.
|Carl Phillips [Ray J. Althoff]|
from Carl Phillips’s Silverchest:
Surrounded As We Are, Unlit, Unshadowed
Squalor of leaves. November. A lone
hornets’ nest. Paper wasps. Place where
everything that happens is as who says it will,
because. As in Why shouldn’t we have
come to this, why not, this far, this
that below-zero where we almost
forget ourselves, rise at last unastonished
at the wreckery of it, what the wreckage
somedays can seem all along to have
been mostly, making you wonder what fear
is for, what prayer is, if not the first word
and not the last one either, if it changes
nothing of what you are still, black stars,
scars, crossing a field that you’ve
crossed before, holding on, tight, though
careful, for you must be careful, so easily
torn is the veil diminishment comes
down to as it lifts and falls, see it falling,
now it lifts again, why do we love, at all?
After the Afterlife
Bones, for sure. Feathers almost the white
of an eagle’s undershaftings in its first year.
Any wind, that stirs. Punishment in death
as it is in trembling: how it lifts, descends,
though — like having meant to be kind, yet
failing anyway — it can do no good. After
the afterlife, there’s an afterlife. A stand of
cottonwood trees getting ready all over again,
because it’s spring, to release their seeds that
only look like cotton; they’re not cotton, at all.
What we lose, without thinking to; what we
give, for free. Distinctions that, if they even
did before, now don’t matter. Any shadows
that break break randomly across these waters.