The Tsunami of St. Claude Avenue

The sudden water took them as they were.
The tsunami of St. Claude Avenue
left them in twisted postures of Pompeii,
gathered beneath the rafters of a shack,
infants clutched to breast, curled up in corners,
breathless at last with no where left to run.

It swallowed them whole, then spit them back out
like a snake's breakfast, all unwanted bits
left to bloat and bleach and wash up at last
on the brown avenues in back of town.
Some hung from trees as their grandfathers did,
strange fruit that sprung up from a poisoned soil.

Separate but equal triumphed at last.
Indiscriminate and leveling death
made them one with the matrons of Lakeview
and left the men of St. Charles Avenue
unmasked at last: lords of misrule
over the ruins of a lost kingdom.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Any readers drifting by, a question: would this be a better poem without the first stanza? I can't make up my mind but I am inclined to think so.