Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Breezy Point (Poem)

Breezy Point

    Queens, New York, November 2012

In the storm's surge
at high tide, fire jumps,

finishing what water
began. The burn blisters

in its new slip of snow,
and a smell of gas rises

from the debris field.
Siding has melted into alleys

of sand that slows
the picking up, the moving


You can't get to Liberty
from here now; the torch

is dark where there is
no safe harbor.

Wind has taken to sea
what remains,

and what remains is
no longer a house, no

more a home. Search it,
knowing this is it:

a heart-shaped photo
in a floating crypt,

cutlery fused to its wire
basket, soaked rugs,

spoiled food, pumps
snaking passageways

amid black mold bidding
to control the sheetrock,

and a slab of wood
urging a day at a time

to figure a way back in.

A Virgin Mary still stands
somewhere on Far Rockaway
peninsula, her arms open,

welcoming the people

with their cats and dogs
and birds, these pilgrims
with candles and hymn books

and cell phones.

Come Lent,
there will be more —

more ashes, more water
and the sounds going in
and out of the tunnels —

and Irish-Americans with nothing
will stand elbow to elbow, pass

from hand to hand the extra
collection plate: for every dollar,

a prayer, the sign of the cross.

Later, it will be the sky,
and the sand and the water,
and these again

that will deliver.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas


Louise Gallagher said...

Oh Maureen. I could feel my heart breaking with every word.

What a beautiful anthem of hope, of love, of possibility, of humanity.

This image sears --
You can't get to Liberty
from here now; the torch

is dark where there is
no safe harbor.

Barbara said...

I can feel the depth of your loss in your wonderful poem, but also I hear the tiny voice of hope. I am praying for everyone on Breezy and all along the coast. I hope that writing gives you some solace as you process all that has happened. I have found it to be comforting. Blessings.

Diane Walker said...

Wonderful, Maureen; I love the detail of this...

Brian Miller said...

wow...really powerful piece....esp in the wake of the tragedy and all that it has affected...it makes life very hard...and hope hard to see....i would hope that we can come together and overcome...

Laura said...

My heart is braking and prayers have been flowing from it for days and days now. Thank you for taking us deep into the alleyways, the fire, the water, the ash, the sorrow...so we can feel this too.

if there is anything you are feeling grateful for in the midst of all of this suffering, please send me a message to incorporate into the gratitude quilt... perhaps reading the words there when it is unfurled on Nov 22 will bring some solace in the solidarity of human gratitude. Info about the quilt and how to participate are at the top of my blog.

gentle steps

S. Etole said...

So few words, yet they convey so powerfully the magnitude of loss.

hedgewitch said...

Thanks for not letting us forget. As always, your language is delicate and strong as steel wire sculpture, supporting the ideas and the heart within.

Jessica Lynn Lang said...

The line breaks add power to the piece, and the images are full of emotion.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

powerful and beautiful, Maureen. I see an increasing confidence in your voice; I have always loved the intensity of focus in your work; you take your time and your use of the couplets and white space works beautifully...xj