Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Magdalena Ball #22: Ocean Eagle

Ocean Eagle

Puerto Rico, alone
my first airplane
momma on the other side
her last holiday
before agoraphobia

while the uneventful flight
moved up the Atlantic
the tanker Ocean Eagle ran aground
at the entrance to San Juan Harbor
and broke in two

five thousand tonnes of Venezuelan oil
spread westward
from Punta Salinas to Condado

my mother’s arms opened
at the airport
and I ran to her

Playita del Condado
had small waves
golden sand and palm trees

the ocean warmed my winter bones
momma wore pointy sunglasses
and watched me play for hours

while the sun burned
ghost white apartment skin
sardines were stressed

we didn’t know it yet

until the chemical aroma
of crude wafted in
tarballs began to appear in the ocean
then on my body, inking tattoos
that had to be scrubbed off
with a wire brush
by strangers
more concerned than kind

three hundred pelicans were killed
oiled to death
diving headfirst into the water

among the casualties were sea urchins
spiny lobsters, and octopi

after that the beaches were closed.

photo credit: tubblesnap Pollution via photopin (license)


  1. So beautifully balanced, even though the anger is there the voice of the poem is more perplexed, as a child would be. I think this works so well Magdalena.

    1. Thanks so much, Lucy. I’m so glad you picked up the child’s perspective in the voice.


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