An apology for the ship that I was in command of

Oriental N Current Situation

 

An apology for the ship that I was in command of

(for the Captain of the ship that will be involved in the first spill of diluted bitumen off the coast of British Columbia)

 

of disrupting their lives 

wreaking havoc on it that

I hope that their lives have achieved some

 

When 11 million gallons

or maybe a lot more

spilled in the Prince William Sound

my dad said that it didn’t really matter

because in the second world war they

they spilled oil every day

so I looked it up on the anniversary

 

6 billion or maybe only

one and a half billion

gallons

 

my seventh grade teacher told me that I couldn’t count to a million

but I’ve proved him wrong

over and over

 

my grandfather would tell me stories of

oil slicks the U-boats left when they died

or when they just wanted you to think that they were dead

and of more oil slicks alive with fire and dying men

 

some sort of normalcy now

I mean, that’s all I can say

 

I can’t offer any more

 

But an Aframax tanker can only clear the Lions’ Gate Bridge

at low tide during the daytime

and they carry three quarters of a million barrels

a barrel is 42 gallons

and that makes an obscene amount

of something that we can not clean

that we can not

 

this little boy watched a barnacle feeding on the tiny plankton

brought to it by the waves and the tide in its pool

 

I’m pretty much old news

once in a while someone will make the connection, there’s my name

but the change visually

you know, it’s 25 years

people forget

 

They renamed her the a lot of things, before she ran into something else

and the scrap merchants traded her

until someone with a nineteenth-century sensibility

renamed her Oriental Nicety

before they beached her on the Gujarat coast

 

Thirty one and a half million gallons

 

sickening

you don’t want to see anything suffer like that

just terrible

there is no other way to describe it

 

through no fault to their own they were impacted


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