Suppressing the Evidence

Alaska oil spill, I edit you out.
You are too terrible to think about.
I X, I double-X you out.
The repeated floods in Bangladesh:
The starving poor who stare at us,
Stare with plaintive smiles,
Smiles without hope
As they clutch a bulbous-bellied child,
I erase your dark faces.
I edit you out.

From the dark windows of their limousines
The rich long since have waved their ringed hands,
Said Abracadabra, to disappear the poor.
Their streets are swept clear
So the homeless are sucked down the dirty drains.
Only their reflections in the tinted glass
Stare back in their complacent discontent:
The blind rich, in their blind car.

On Madison a young emaciated man
In a threadbare jacket shivers in the snow.
Help me. Please. I have no place to go.
I hold out a dollar bill between his face and mine
Like the fan of an old Japanese courtesan,
Then hurry past as his face turns to smoke.

I flee the city, back to my comfortable farm
In the valley of wine. I drink the wine.
I do not turn on the news.
I and the wine will blot it out.
And we erase more and more of the world’s terrible map;
How may we bear witness, as we should?

I must hold in my mind one small dead otter pup.

:: Carolyn Kizer, Cool, Calm & Collected

No comments:

Post a Comment