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Black Horizon

                                                     Grand Isle, Louisiana, 2010
                                             Post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Like ribbons of kelp, they wash up
bark-black and stretching
far as the eye can see—boys
sway in the waves, skin sheened
in oil as they toss the tar balls.
A quick game of pickup.
On the shore, cleanup crews
weave a path between beach
towels, Hazmat-suited,
shovel and plastic bag in hand.
It never fails to shock: dark
pools oiling sands of blinding
white. I load my open palms
with them, testing their heft.
These scales cannot be balanced.
And always more cresting
the waves, merciful as death.

Rebecca Dunham

Cold Pastoral
Milkweed Editions

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