Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15 -- Kevin James Salveson

St. Francis Dam, 1928

The churchbells
peal out their 
plaintive wail.
The organ murmurs 
its condolences.
Survivors shuffle
and shake
in the cloudless day
under the heedless sky.

A squall you might 
glimpse from a distance; 
I heard soaking wet notes 
pouring forth.

It told of towns and people 
washed clean away 
from the badlands 
when the dam burst.  
Some get a wooden cross 
in the dirt 
to remember their grave 
on the floodplain, 
most don't even get that.
Many people are never found;
many bodies are never recovered.

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