The people are eroding within
like their coast
ever crumbling into the gulf.
My first birthday gift was a small town,
where the ratio of human to chemical hazard
is still as imbalanced as a peg-legged man.
I grew up thinking smokestacks
were where clouds came from.
You had beaten my little lungs
into believing that this was what
air was supposed to taste like.
My allergies pay your punches
homage every winter.
You muscled my maturing brain
into thinking that this was all
in the name of industry –
creating jobs for the barely-educated
roughnecking it to feed their
My friends’ parents you employed
were too simple and trusting
to acknowledge the deathly particulates
hunting them through sparse trees.
You bribed my politicians
to turn every blind eye.
They happily prioritized our lives
as worth less than that of our
northern and western brothers,
just as long as they got their cut
of black gold.
We became your country’s southern cesspool,
swirling colorfully in chemical run-off,
but not wise enough
to make them mitigate the toxic waste.
We suffer with our deformities and cancers
so they can have cheaper gas
and non-stick frying pans.
We slip from their memories
until the crude stops flowing in
and rolling out again for their consumption.
They said that we weren’t worth
the cost of rebuilding
whenever nature washed us out
after man’s neglect to do it himself.
But when we were pasting our own
broken pieces back together again,
all the new-strung power-lines
seemed to stop at the refineries.
The surrounding neighborhoods
waited and festered three months
longer to receive the benefits
of the same utilities they were dying for
(others to have).
Drill until you’ve killed
No pill can rebuild
this flood wall
or stop the siren’s call.