By Kaleem Hawa
There’s a bulldozer on the beach!,
and it’s not making itself any friends.
Its crisp staccato gagging the rush
of wind, the crash of synthetic on
mineral flattening the salted chew, shoving
the grit into their mouths, until
no one has a choice, until
they grind up the granules, spit-coating
the mulch until
it’s a sandpit after the rain,
Sullivan’s dessert, a brine-saturated treat
for a starving family, served sous-vide.
What did you say? There’s a bulldozer on the beach!
I have to remind myself, before I jump in
that the ocean’s not their friend,
that it’s a death sentence for a bulbous people
bobbing up and down its neck,
that under the skin, there’s a dripping reef,
the feet struggle to avoid, seeking out firm ground,
generations who’ve forgotten how to swim,
the Akka fishermen, the Haifa seamstresses,
lives gutted and cleaned and sold
so the creature can continue its purring
progress—goddamn—there’s a bulldozer on the beach!
It’s hard to walk, when you’ve stepped on anemones
—they crack the skin, break sensibilities,
puncture tires, even, rewrite stories, often—
but walk I must, for when my teta
passes I’ll return her to that
plot, I’ll repurpose
that black machine, carve out a piece of her
land, I’ll bend her earth to my will,
yell out across the indifferent light, crying salt,
chewing stars, begging the world to look, to finally
stop it, because: there’s a bulldozer on her beach!,
and dead bodies in the water.
You can find Kaleem at @kaleemhawa