‘Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less’: Republican slogan
unveiled by Newt Gingrich, May 2008.
When my brother brought news of my youngest son
home I took the winding path to the beach
where the moon was up like the night
we settled to watch the first turtle
lumber ashore and heave its heavy
water-meant limbs across pure sand.
I thought of the first time I took him out
shrimping: still as an egret, perched
on the prow, afraid I would send him home
if he spoke, his nine-year-old eyes
taking everything in.
I stayed at the shore till the bright dawn of
birdsong, consoled by belief this would
never change: the bottlenose dolphins
skimming the swell; the shush of the waves
as they eased in to land but
that was before I knew that the wound
they’d drilled in the skull of the earth was
open and spurting blood as black
as the minds of the men whose mantra
‘drill here, drill now’ took the life of my son.
Today we have been to a meeting with oil men
who think they can offer us words
and fine promises to make it all right
but back in the swamp the slick has enveloped
the base of the grasses and poisoned the larvae
of fin fish and shrimp and crab and oyster.
At dusk I return to stand on black sand
where a scorch-marked turtle turns
dead in the surf from oil men’s attempts
to burn off the spill, while in the distance flaring
smoke chimneys into dark tainted clouds.
Back in the city the men in pressed shirts
fret about lawsuits and shareholder profits
while here in the Gulf the hotels are closing
and fishermen droop in charity food lines as
locals watch livelihoods drowning in oil.
Copyright © Nicki Griffin 2013