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Anthology of Louisiana Literature

Julie Kane.
"First Re-entry, Post-Katrina"


As if a friend you used to see a lot

but haven't, lately, stops you on the street,

and right away you note the baseball cap,

the skeleton that has begun to peek

through facial features, and you hear about

the son or daughter in from out of town,

the chemo up in Shreveport twice a week,

how hard it is to keep a milkshake down,

The City Care Forgot (and then recalled)

comes into focus from your moving car,

familiar houses with their doors kicked in

and death tolls sprayed beneath blue FEMA tarps,

and though the specialists must have their say,

you see yourself it could go either way.

 

Notes

  1. The City Care Forgot. Nickname for New Orleans that's been used at least since 1938.
  2. Death tolls sprayed. A reference to the X-Code system used in the rescue and recovery operations after Katrina. The code spray-painted around an X on a house indicated that it had been investigated and the basics of what had been found. The number of dead people found in the house was written under the X.
  3. Blue FEMA tarps. FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal agency in charge of responding to emergencies. Its response to Katrina was notoriously incompetent. Blue tarps — tarpaulins were the large water-resistant canvases, generally blue, that FEMA passed out after Katrina. These were draped over damaged houses to prevent further water damage.

 

Source

Kane, Julie. Jazz Funeral. West Chester: Story Line Press, 2009. <http:// www. amazon. com/ Jazz- Funeral- Julie- Kane/dp/ 0978599713/>.


Selected books by Julie Kane:


Body and Soul (1987)

Rhythm & Booze: Poems by Julie Kane(2003)
Winner in the 2002 National Poetry Series
Finalist for the 2005 Poet's Prize

Jazz Funeral (2009)
Winner of the 2009 Donald Justice Poetry Prize

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Anthology of Louisiana Literature