THREE POEMS by Alana I. Capria

Piece #1
“They know the ocean will wipe away most of the evidence.”
-Daily News article, June 2, 2010
Everything sinks eventually.
The ships, even us. Even the oil.
Then the men can smile and come again with their drills. We can see the many bags of our tarred bodies left out on a curb for the garbage men. We wonder if the plastic will stink like oil or flesh?
But the men do not want to see us. They want to pretend we escaped those death tides, that we moved further inland, where tainted water cannot touch us. But we are animals. There are no purification systems we can rely on. We can prophesy earthquakes but not oil spills.
Unassuming, we swam into the mess. It wasn’t until our feathers matted together that we realized what was wrong. Oil already pulled the fish down.
We are colorblind but we know there is something wrong with all that wet darkness. It gets in our throat and we cannot cough it up.
Where are the men to clean out our mouths?
Piece #2
“When we found this dolphin it was filled with oil. Oil was just pouring out of it.”
-Daily News article, June 2, 2010
I drank.
It was an accident. The mothers said to keep my mouth closed but I was thirsty.
I drank the dark in and started floating. The mothers pulled me back but I kept lifting away. They were afraid of the oil filling my eyes.
I sobbed in that shallow tide. I stayed on the surface but felt heavy. My body couldn’t stand terrestrial gravity. The oil crushed the insides that outer pressure could not reach.
Everyone stayed far away. They watched from a distance, calling my name, but I could not move to them. The slick swallowed them up.
I stayed alone in the sun. The oil went through its own tidal motions within me.
I felt relief when the sun baked my flesh.
Piece #3
“The entire water column is thick with this oil and chemical
dispersant mix and it’s absolutely disgusting.” article, May 27, 2010
It was worse beneath the surface.
We thought we were safe in the water but it was coated heavily. We swam through the fog and choked.
The air was gone. Repeatedly, we flashed our gills and tried to swim but could not escape the oil. Maybe if we had been able to grow legs.
The oil taste was bad but the chemicals were worst. We watched the oil disintegrate and reappear. It came back as giant clots that caught our breathing filters. They were pulmonary embolisms for our scales.
Eventually, we simply drifted. We floated in a giant column of flashing gray. The few predators that came to eat us got sucked in.
We stuck to oars and pipe lines. We adhered to wet suits.
There was no way to get rid of us or the oil.
Alana I. Capria (born 1985) is a candidate in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Fairleigh Dickinson University. As a child, she wanted to be a marine biologist. Capria resides in Northern New Jersey with her fiance and rabbits. Her works have been published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Literary Chaos, Our Truths-Nuestras Verdades, Mighty Mercury, Quiet Mountain Essays, and No Record Press. She has upcoming pieces in Disingenous Twaddle, Locust Magazine, Breadcrumb Scabs, Weird Year, Seahorse Rodeo Review, and Trapeze Magazine. Her chapbooks are published at

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