"The Red Tarp" By Emily Mosley


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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