poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

You Can't Survive on Salt Water

Kalamu ya Salaam
                                —seven haiku for old orleans—


1.
dead dogs hang from trees
bloated barges sit on the
wrong side of levees

2.
dumb pigeons have flown
now it's people's turn to perch
roasting atop roofs

3.
a caravan of
yellow buses drowns because
the mayor can't drive

4.
official death counts
exclude so-called looters shot
on sight of their skin

5.
dry folk uptown hold
their noses, rejecting wet
people's funky stank

6.
things that go bump in 
the night: your boat against a 
dead baby's body

7.
a son returns, finds
four-month-old bones wearing his
missing mother's dress

From So Much Things To Say: 100 Calabash Poets. Copyright © 2010 by Kalamu ya Salaam. Used with permission of Calabash International Literary Trust and the author.

From So Much Things To Say: 100 Calabash Poets. Copyright © 2010 by Kalamu ya Salaam. Used with permission of Calabash International Literary Trust and the author.

Kalamu ya Salaam