Cody Ernst



wasn't one. It was more a science place, 
a place pale prisoners would escape from
before being tased and zip-tied in the front lawn's
tall grass. I'd fish on the outskirts of it
with my mom, catching snappers, spearing ducks
sometimes with my pole's hook (there were
ducks galore). Once, we found a opossum
screaming and nibbling at its own insides;
we took home its young in a shopping bag
and nursed them in a dirt-filled fish tank
until they, too, went mad and ate themselves.
My mom cursed the hedge fund's chemicals;
"whatever they pump into those poor people
that turns their skin bright white,
it drove those opossums nuts," she said.
Then came the hurricane and flood. Outside,
armed men with binoculars and leashes
hacked through tangled trees and power lines
with carbon fiber machetes. They patrolled
the cleared roads in Suburbans and shuttled spotlights
through the forest, looking for the escaped subjects
of their experiments. "Freak down!"
one man with a rifle repeated, kneeling
on a fluorescent body. The skin stood out
against the backdrop of pines and swamp;
looking for them at night was like waiting for the sky
to produce shooting stars. I didn't tell mom,
but months later, with friends, I flipped a plywood board          
in the woods. Beneath it, we saw huddled
some dead that the hedge fund failed to wrangle.




Basically, everything in this poem is true. When Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast, I lived with my mom near a gigantic hedge fund. While everything else lay in ruins, the hedge fund's employees were driven around in authoritative-looking vehicles, giving them the air of a police force during a time of martial law.