The Spill Detail



Will Watson

spooky poems about death keep spilling
out of me, all these images of unwinding,
of tumbling in surf, of dim, narrow doors,
trembling bridges, strange cities . . .
when what usually draws me
is, say . .  the time it takes
a pecan tree to kick free of earth
the nut carried and buried
by spring freshet just so, and no deer or squirrel
disinters it, and it sprouts through the mould
towards light, forms leaves, bark
nuts and usually i'll make something
from those leaves
maybe compost or mulch
or agonize over the green thousand nuts
killing grass on the back fence
--can i crack them all? bake a pie?--
or maybe, like Uncle Walt
i'd just let them all root deep, deep
in some other soil; i'd like to write
about that dirt, how it teems with tiny
living bits, animalia, microcosms
of the great beast whose breath sounds
everywhere, all the time, if you listen
how even the rot there
is sweet, nutritious, life giving
there is a hole in the world
a gap in the Gulf
and from it spill
spooky poems about death
about drowning, unraveling 
about steep bridges, strange cities
and dim, narrow doors

Will Watson is Associate Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast, where he specializes in American Literature. He lives "south of the tracks" in Long Beach, so the Gulf beaches are less than half a mile from his front door. Although northern-born he considers the Mississippi Sound, its adjacent waters and lands his adoptive homeplace. His poetry has appeared in New Laurel Review, Minnesota Review and Labor among other places.

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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