Saturday, August 29, 2009

Katrina: 4 Years

Alison Pelegrin
"Blue Roof Blues"

I'm a lost soul standing where my house used to be.
Said I'm lost--where the seafood place used to be
Is nothing--no dumpster, no pilings, no speck of debris.

No Spanish moss to be found in a chain-link fence--
Instead of moss, you find sea grass woven in the fence.
In broad day, the shape of things doesn't make no sense.

Floodwaters left a stain on my shutters and doors,
On curtains and Sheetrock and shutters and doors.
The lucky ones can live on the second floor.

There's a crop of blue roofs in some neighborhoods.
Rebuild or abandon--it depends on the neighborhood.
For a hint of the loss, drive the length of the flood.

The blue tarps blanket rooftops where holdouts waited.
Their attics weren't high enough, so they axed out, waited
For days, their names spelled with shoe polish just in case.

Yesterday I crossed the Mississippi to my mama's side.
Whole way over, blue roof blue in the corner of my eye.

from Big Muddy River of Stars, 2007, The University of Akron Press
Winner of the 2006 Akron Poetry Prize


Jon-Erik said...

Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed the poem. I live in NYC, but consider NOLA a home away from home, visit friends there once or twice every year.

I wrote a song called "Blue Roof Blues" dedicated to all my friends in NOLA and to all those effected by the hurricanes and flooding. It was the title song of my CD.
Anyway, I'm not trying to promote the CD, just want to illustrate that I feel for you, I care!

Jon-Erik Kellso

Sandy Longhorn said...


Thanks for stopping by. This poem is actually written by a grad school friend of mine, Alison Pelegrin. I was thinking of her yesterday when CNN did a story on the anniversary of the hurricane.


Karen J. Weyant said...

I love Pelegrin's work. Thanks for posting this.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Karen, Glad you know Alison's work. Hope all is well there. S.