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Mississippi Coast Lament

Mississippi Coast Lament

Garry Breland

Building, they keep one eye on the sky
The season is upon them again
The neighborhood is windrowed rubble
Here and there a new house sprouts
Among blasted oaks and concrete steps to nothing
This rebuild is slower than after Camille
Or Frederick -- most have pulled out inland
Forsaking beach views for insurability
A young woman recently apologized to me
For her name: Katrina. Who knew that a name
Could be gutted like a house that survived a tidal surge?
And now a new and cruder storm arises
From subterranean seabed depths -- Black Gold, Texas Tea -- 
Will they all have to move away from there? 


Garry Breland is a native Mississippian who spent much of his life out of the south. His day job is academic vice president at William Carey University, in Hattiesburg, MS. He and his wife (a college English teacher) have two children and two grandchildren.

The Spill

In 2010, when the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill exploded and threatened the way of life that Gulf Coast residents know and love, West Florida Literary Federation offered an outlet for expression. During the six months when the uncapped well gushed, and for one year following the successful capping of the well, writers, poets and photographers from across the country sent us their words, thoughts and feelings, thereby providing a literary record of the Deep Water Horizon environmental disaster. Here are the best of the submissions.

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