TWO POEMS by Abby Millager

Status Quo “After” the Gulf Incident
for JoAnn

Now that the estuary is a well-oiled machine, ball bearings in the slippery, every blade a dipstick,

the Government and the BP’s and the Halliburtons can breed plants down there, import workers, who will care

how much it all stinks. Just think: rampant oil could be a metaphor—the corporatocracy

gumming up everything, subsuming peoples of the world (& us), drowning Earth

in its own sleek excrement. Where is Spartacus

when you need him, all loincloth and muscle definition? These days, the only line anyone draws in the crude-fouled arena

is the bottom line, that lawless scrawl staking its claim across the world floor.

No one noticed the crack it scored and now like scrofulous skin the fault splits open—

and the sweet benzene spreads. In solidarity, thinking water everywhere refuses to reflect. No sunstruck Aegean, no Aurora in the Northeast Passage, no

moon-split China Sea—it is all morass, an iridescent mire

laddering beyond Alexandria, up the Potomac: Lincoln Memorial, Tidal Basin, non-Reflecting Pool

and Spartacus is there, primed with grease and sand—an engine, he tears up the Mall,

leaps to the top of the Capitol steps, tarball chains and all, looks back and bellows, Who is with me?


Transfusion Reaction
Oil in the Gulf, as seen from the Delaware Coast

stuck earth won’t scream—bleeds
itself, arterial

ocean the soaked bandage
pressed against this beating

blood transfuses the Gulf congeals
at edges, festers

in estuaries—a soup: ancient
bodies of plants, choleric

Pasts back to haunt, whose foul
humors’ ghostly fingers

slide into that marsh just as
the wayward doctor mines the body

of girl after baby girl no one
does anything not for a long time

until a million little girls

with their birds and fishes
the black rubber hands


Abby Millager lives and writes amid mushroom farms in the northern hills of humble Delaware. Her poetry, prose and translations have appeared in 5 am, Agenda (UK), Barrow Street, The Flea (Australia), Fourteen Hills, Goodfoot, The Journal, New Zoo Review, The Pharos, Phoebe, Prairie Schooner, Redactions, Southeast Review, Terminus, Verse, Worcester Review and elsewhere. Originally trained as a doctor, she graduated from the Bennington Writing Seminars in 2002. She received a 2009 Emerging Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts. Her chapbook Hairwork has just been released (Doll’s Eye Press, 2010).

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