Does Katrina mean pure as in pure hell
or is it the new nick-name for global warming?
Like Adolph, it will fall from favor
with expecting parents.
To me, it’s a bouncy-sounding name:
I see my Katrina dancing,
a farm girl from Belgium or Holland
caught up in a Brueghel painting,
in what Williams called “rollicking measures,”
her skirt twirling like a roulette wheel,
a discus thrown from Biloxi.
But under her skirt are the whirling floaters,
the human flotsam outstretched
like starfish and — spinning, spinning
into the Gulf of Mexico
and across the Atlantic waters.
Washed out of the prisons and nursing homes,
the working-class neighborhoods
(and the neighborhoods without work),
the dockside warehouses, the brothels.
the churches and schools, — and streaming now,
each a little whirlpool of abated life,
a mandala of grief.
I imagine Katrina’s energy,
her benign urge to fulfillment,
the twists and turns of her swerving hips,
and her inevitable dissolution,
and I find that energy returning now
as pinwheel corpses revolve past
the drilling platforms and steer themselves
eastward, bumping against Miami
and then out to the vast, jazzed-up sea.