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Saturday, September 22, 2012


by Brigitte Goetze

Photo source: The Telegraph

It's now confirmed that virtually all the tar balls that washed ashore on the Alabama  Gulf Coast since hurricane Isaac last month are linked to the 2010 BP oil spill. BP says it hasn't seen the study, and they're working to remove the tar balls that are on the beaches. (NBC News)

Bound like witches, their feathers tarred,
trailing wings useless as limbs wrecked on a rack,
all cold, none able to hold anything
with beaks glued shut by crude,
weighed down, like medieval wise women sentenced to drown,
saved only if they can float.
Even the rookeries gooed, fouled
with vomit spewed forth by a far-off explosion:

Blow out! Fast! Fast! Shut the valves—
they are stuck! Top the well—
it’s gunked up! Kill the top—
it won’t stop! Tube the beast—
it still leaks! Pipe the oil, flare the gas—
it’s not enough! Spool and stack—
plugged at last.     But

currents schlepping toxic burdens, spreading
sludge and balls of tar, sliming marshes, soiling beaches.
Volunteers aid ailing turtles, otters, pelicans.
And slicks and plumes escaping booms
get hunted, sprayed, forced to disperse—
yet, dodgers settle, undetained, suffocating bottom life.
Creatures suffer out of sight.
Great the oceans, deep and wide, still—
don't believe this grave delusion:
the solution to pollution is dilution.

Brigitte Goetze, biologist, goat farmer, writer, lives in the foothills of Oregon 's Coast Range . Her most recent poems can be found in Four and Twenty, Outwardlink, and The River.