“The company had pulled its employees
from the facility earlier this week
out of concern for their safety, and warns
that it expects more of the chemical storage
containers to rupture as the materials degrade
and burn. Residents within a 1.5-mile radius
of Arkema were also ordered to flee.”
—NPR report, August 31st, 2017
Harvey lights the clouds on fire. Then what?
I place my valuables in a shoebox, which is to say,
your toe tag is buried there.
A chemical plant firecrackers in the middle
of a neighborhood, pours itself black
into your throat, sneaks in the smell of bar-b-que.
You cough, say your throat feels scratchy.
We send you to the ER. Neither of you,
that metal body broken, your broken body
makes the evening news. No one smiles
at a murder of crows. Their caws are hollow
sirens always watching the winds, the fumes
on which they glide on, on which they melt away.
From Hunger Mountain Issue 23: Silence & Power, which you can purchase here.
Art by Ian Lynam, curated by Dana Lyons.
Lupe Méndez is a Poet/Educator/Activist, CantoMundo, Macondo, & Emerging Poet Incubator Fellow and co-founder of the Librotraficante Caravan. He is the founder of Tintero Projects and works with emerging Latinx writers and other writers of color within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. His publishing credits include prose work, flash fiction and poetry. His first collection of poetry, WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA was published by Willow Books in March of 2019.