It would be friggin’ ridiculous to think that I could be focused on anything but the appalling disaster in Japan right now. Clément is on the scene, of course, high-stepping over the body bags and ranting about how man can make a natural disaster worse.
I have to admit, I’m struggling with similar feelings, and just when I think it’s overwhelming (Clément has called me a pathetic zombie in the past), the arresting image of some men’s incredible courage overtakes me. Here’s my zombie tribute to that spirit.
for the Fukushima Fifty
Man in white—HasMat/level A—
ghostlike, moving, breathing slowly—
in my horrified dream I hear your ragged
inhalation-exhalation through the
Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
they say will keep you safe
from radiation: particles and gas.
These could choke you, stop your already
laborious progress through a plant that men made
to fuel a lust for power.
You are anonymous, face encapsulated
by the hood, voice rattled
by the Supplied Air Respirator, pushed
into the Voice-Operated Channel—your
umbilicus to Clean-Up Operations.
You are my zombie hero, dead man walking,
while the Big Brains meet and find new ways
to slice and dice the acceptable margin
If I could shower you in flowers, make whole
the body that you sacrifice, through some
bright communal magic, I would do it.
But you are that magic; you are the white-bright
light of courage that dares to contend with
the murderous pissing poison, the greed, the desire,
clean it up.
—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/the Daily Slice