Beth SKMorris, three poems


TANKA

Come up from the Pile.

Decontaminate, shower,

grab a cot, some sleep-

Can’t go home today, tonight.

Have to dig, find my brother.

NOT LIKE ORPHEUS

I made myself stay in the passenger

seat, used my asthma as an excuse,

rolled up the windows when we

got to the Pile, let others unload

water and candy from the van.

Through the side-view mirror I watched

the recovery crews approach the tables.

I could not make out their features, their

bodies masked by a grey-brown mist

of dirt and dust. One glance was enough-

I did not look through the rear view mirror,

I did not peer out the back window,

I could not force myself to turn.

I did not go out on the truck again.

The Hudson at Twilight

the blue satin sash

encircling a little girl’s dress,

the fireman’s parade uniform

no, not blue