Hancock Oil Refinery Fire, 1958


By Margaret Towner

After school I cross the bridge alone,
walk home from second grade
wearing my favorite blouse, with
tiny poodles scattered on cotton,
pink ribbons around their necks,
fake crystal buttons down the front,
one more on each puffy sleeve.
At the top of the bridge I stop,
watch strange clouds of smoke
rise from the horizon where oil derricks
and tanks stand on the hill, I watch
the sky darken as warm rain falls,
leaving brown speckles
that will never wash out
of my favorite poodle blouse.

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