Progress Report
Tar balls appear thirty miles
from my from my front door.
In the early morning and near dusk, the perfume
of pines–even the familiar rot of Louisiana summer–
are vanquished by the smell of oil. After so many
dispersant-soaked red eye mornings, after so many
cracked pelican eggs and broken promises,
after so many withheld respirators, crushed baby
birds, unsent paychecks, and daily reports
of shortcuts, flimflams, and hands passing cash–
as the coastline disappears
and people still begin conversations
with “Before Katrina…”–what we have
to show are tar balls. Rolling in the Rigolets
Pass, dangerously near Lake Pontchartrain,
souvenirs of the spill, detritus of lost hope,
thirty miles from my front door.
“Obama team keeps Bush polar bear climate rule”
Arctic ice melts,
white bear starves.
White House speaks:
Protect the bears
as long as you
leave out the part
about global warming;
shield from hunters
guard against toxins.
Laws in place
are good enough;
keep it simple
not confusing.
Less white ice,
more dark sea
absorbing heat;
flowing freely.
Lakes go dry.
ice keeps melting.
White House speaks:
razzle dazzle.
White bear starves.
Diane Elayne Dees lives on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Her poems have been published in several journals and anthologies, including Hurricane Blues: Poems about Katrina and Rita, and Louisiana in Words.

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