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Friday, November 16, 2018


by Tricia Knoll 

A cadaver dog named Echo searches for human remains in a van. A husband-wife team, Karen and Larry Atkinson, worked their way through devastated properties near Eden Roc Drive in Paradise with their dog Echo, an English lab. Echo dashed ahead, nose to the ground, and then returned to Karen, who would point the dog toward the next place to be searched. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester, November 14, 2018.

Of course, I was wondering
but you don’t just pipe up
to ask this about these fires
that everyone is explaining
for why the forests are dry,
why these houses stand
in the wildland interface,
what climate crisis ramps
up the drought. And now
I don’t have to ask where
are the cadaver dogs
doing their work?
They are there, sniffing.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who responded to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as a public information officer—a few weeks after the cadaver dogs had come and gone. A friend of hers worked with his dog on this hard job after major hurricanes in Florida two decades ago. More responders with more hard jobs.