The Red Tarp

 

It’s there
 
the red tarp,
flapping on the side
of a crumbling wedding cake
of a building
Melting
in the middle of
downtown
the side of the soup bowl
that is our city,
A testament
to greed, to lies
A collapse of trust in
the goodness
of people
 
Who knows how long
it was able to stay up
But
in February
there was a sign,
home-made,
on the chain link fence surrounding the
disaster site,
It said, “The bodies of
Construction workers
Jose Ponce Arreola (63)
and Quinnyon Wimberley (36)
are still inside since 10/12/19
Happy Mardi Gras!”
&
I don’t know why
But
 
I think it’s Quinnyon’s
legs
that are being hidden
by that red
tarp,
maybe
a dozen floors up,
his hips
       visible
Legs bent
Work pants
Thick
boots
Maybe bone by now
Five months on—
 
Just
Half
 
a
Person
 
It is
just a feeling, but
also
another worker,
a survivor, said
that
he saw Jose fall
Down an elevator
shaft
& who knows
maybe he did & slid
& then
Got caught
as cement layers
Pancaked
Steel beams
Bending &
Snapping,
A name, a grandfather
Now just
a lower torso; —
Mr. Jose was planning on retiring
at the end
of the year,
He
 
Wanted to move back
to Mexico to be with
His family & I wonder
If he was one of
the many saviors
Who came from Central
America & Mexico
to help rebuild
the city after Katrina nearly
Flattened
us with Her muddy
Fist
 
But
I think the body we can see
his lower
Half anyway
Is
Quinnyon,
Engaged
to be
Married, his family seeing every—
day the monstrosity
The unfathomable
The giant headstone
Eighteen stories high

 

 

  

Emily Mosley grew up in a small lakeside cabin in rural Georgia, but has spent the last six years in the gritty wonderland that is New Orleans. She has worked in the service industry since she was 15: at hotels, museums, nature resorts, holiday light shows, summer camp for rich people, and as a rideshare driver. She can often be found sneaking into strangers’ yards to smell their flowers and pet their cats. Emily is a mother to three surly but hilarious daughters. Her essays and poetry have been published by Weasel Press, Not Very Quiet, Sheila-Na-Gig, The Grief Diaries, Just Place, The Abstract Elephant Magazine, Lucky Jefferson, Georgia EMC Magazine, and in the book Psychedelic Trips for the Mind

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