Poetry from Katrina by Lyn Lifshin

August 27th, 2015 by admin

  Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary AS ONE MAN SAT IN AN EVACUATION CENTER IN BATON ROUGE he could not stop watching the images of hurt and crying children on TV. Known as Grandpa Grady the elderly man in his River Ridge neighborhood was sickened by the images, was saying “ya’ll get those children.” To calm him, family members lied and reassured him they would rescue the children he was seeing on TV. But as the day wore on, sounds grew quieter and he stopped eating or speaking. A nurse stopped by but did not send him to a hospital. Last Thursday he died in a single bed in a small room at the shelter. “I think,” his daughter said, he grieved him self to death”   CONVENTION CENTER NIGHTMARE one woman arrived with 2 children, 6 and 2. “Soon as I got there I saw fighting. I saw people throwing chairs, pull a gun out right in front of little children.” She saw a boy who could not breathe, asthma or panic. She pointed it out to one police man she saw and the officer checked the boy, said there was nothing they could do. The boy was dead. Another officer appeared. The others figured he would remove the body but the officer said it was just to check some gun shots   HEARING ROBERT WISE DIED almost this time of year, the aspens crackling the drive out from Boulder up into the hills Octoberly crisp. Peanut soup in an out of season restaurant. The Rockies blue. We were all at the Denver Film Festival, would never meet again but that warm perfect after noon, none of us could have believed that   DOWN IN THE FONTAINEBLEAU AREA the watermarks 6 feet high, visible on some houses. Signs of life slowly are returning with the trickle of residents who’ve gotten in to look at what is left. It’s freaky, everything just floated. I’m going to spray it all someone says, spray it down with Clorox. “Look at my counter tops. They were so pretty.” “Water knocked my new refrigerator over, my lovely mahogany door. I spent $13,000 this year on my back yard. It was beautiful. Now it’s a disaster but it’s a fixable disaster.”   THIS IS ALL I GOT one man said, stretching his arms and pointing to a red t shirt, blue jeans and a pair of slippers. “we lost everything.” But that’s not his biggest worry. He has not seen his wife, kids or grand children since last Saturday. He heard they were in Baton Rouge. One woman was nearly hysterical Saturday morning when friends went to wash clothes. “I want to go home,” she yelped, “I can’t stay here forever.” Volunteers have few words of comfort. “Reality really hasn’t begun to sink in for these people. They are still in a state of shock.”   SOME WERE MOANING, OTHERS SEEMED TO BE LOST IN A VACANT STATE OF RESIGNATION one mother sat beside her son, a 34 year old paraplegic who had been carried up eight flights of darkened stairs and evacuated to the airport. Inside the medic tent she stroked her son’s fore head. His arms were curled to his chest. His mother took a towel from her bag of belongings and put it on his arms so he wouldn’t get cold. “I am not letting him out of my sight” she said  

Katrina by Lyn Lifshin

available from Small Press distribution (SPD) www.spdbooks.org see more at www.poeticmatrix.com    

Posted in: Uncategorized, Forever Journal