Carrie Bennett :: Expedition Notes

Expedition notes 1
after Ai Weiwei’s photographs of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake

 

The earth-
quake struck
90,000
the number
numbed
the child-
ren could not
run could not
escape their
schools
steel
structures
meant
to stand
in stead
collapsed
a lapse
o laps
that did
not hold
now
white-masked
clean up
crew
did you
throw
up when
you saw
the re-
straightened
steel
beams
as if
nothing
could
ever
be
nothing
again.

 

 

 

Expedition notes 2

 

The bridge spoke
to us steel-slated
structure standing
straight when we
know straight
doesn’t exist.
The yellow tape
was another false
reflection from
beneath the wreck-
age more debris
we could not
stop running away.
A disease in-
habits the body
like a photograph
of a story
you don’t want
to see
the clean-up
crew who searched
for the dead
bodies already taken
away but you
know the children
are still there
somewhere.
I dreamt
a hairless bear
watched me
its prehistoric
face and claws
like shells or
terrible hooks.
I tried to hug
the almost-
human animal
but it was
too late.
Then the bridge
became a sky-
scraper the light
and speed shattered
as we moved
like insects
across the land.


Additional poems in this series appear in print.

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