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Monday, October 08, 2018


by Carol Alexander

A tsunami as high as 20 feet was triggered September 29 by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and hit two cities and nearby settlements about 800 miles northeast of Jakarta, Indonesia. Here, a ship is wedged between buildings on a street in Wani, Sulewesi. Mast Irham/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock via The Washington Post, October 2, 2018

Dusk that is woven of sighs and a bomb of sparrows
shooting over the grass: a mild explosion before the thunder breaks.
For us the sighs, the birds, the thunder spin a little drama out of air,
while in the interval of eastern waves, a wall of ocean wipes out
even the shadow of the fisher hawks.  We glimpse the water,
hear cries tamped beneath thick mud in someone's cellphone video.

A group of women scream and disappear,  breath mingled with the wind.
So close to the edge, has this documentarian survived?

On the beaches they say lies anything, everything touching the human sphere.
Imagine tangled skeins of clothes, smashed up festival lights,
a wooden pipe sluiced of ash. Still bodies of the swimmers, beach strays,
amid the bamboo and pottery tiles. Bodies carried from the wreckage
either by the sea or living hands.  And as the rain comes down 9,000 miles away

we think of those frozen figures of Pompeii going about the quotidian
in their easy ignorance, and relic ourselves with open mouths upon this frieze.

Editor's Note: Global Giving, which funnels donations to local organizations, has raised $248,000 of its $1 million goal to help people in Sulawesi. The effort centers on emergency supplies such as "food, water, and medicine, in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help residents." Global Giving has a 96 rating on Charity Navigator.

Carol Alexander is the author of the poetry collections Environments (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and Habitat Lost (Cave Moon Press). Her chapbook Bridal Veil Falls is published by Flutter Press. Alexander's poems appear in a variety of anthologies and journals, most recently Aurora Poetry, Belletrist, Bluestem, Cumberland River Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, One and Third Wednesday. She is a past contributor to TheNewVerse.News.