Doing the Aftermath

I drove the Lesbaru just yards to sister Laura’s new place, where we’d been working 12-hour days, and loaded all the boxes into the car for recycling. Then, I went to my apartment to compose, hurriedly, an evening meal. As I searched the pantry for roasted peppers, things fell apart. I was juggling stuff that, apparently, longed for liberation. Gravity prevailed. I lost a container of pasta sauce, applesauce, and a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil. All three hit tile, splattering a cabinet, baseboards, and toe kick, but most of the combo, resembling a Jackson Pollock, seemed to be resting on the floor, waiting, waiting, trying to decide what to do while I was deciding what to do and, then, it decided before I’d made a decision. The blob started oozing and moving, oozing and moving, under the fridge. Grabbing paper towels, I tried to block the flow. Then, I used my hands to scoop the mass, where pieces of glass stood like skyscrapers atop peaks and valleys of colors and textures, into a large plastic bowl as I repeated, “This is nothing, NOTHING.”

I thought about people who are evacuated from their homes when a Richter 4.9 to 9.5 strikes or a tsunami or category six approaches only to return to a house that’s collapsed and a yard full of broken this and that, mounds of debris, mountains of household stew–situations a gazillion times worse than mine.

I reflected on Katrina and its aftermath, the BP oil spill and its aftermath, Fukushima’s meltdown and possible/probable melt-through, Nebraska’s flooded Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, and New Mexico’s wildfire-threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory, housing a plutonium facility. The during and aftermath.

Next, I thought of Fallujah, multiple Fallujahs, areas of devastation, cities and areas bombed by our military without consideration for civilians?crime scenes, all the crime scenes, courtesy of U.S. imperialism and Zionism, with consequences not unlike Fukushima, Nebraska, and Los Alamos. Example: Reports from Fallujah provide evidence of increases in infant mortality, serious birth defects (a child born with two heads), and cancer.

This savagery is underreported or ignored by mainstream media “journalists”, blacked out by the president, minimized, lipsticked, pancaked, powdered, and perfumed?accepted by those who are comfortable living in Complacencyville where they celebrate “independence”.

As our “leaders” sing lullabies, telling us that actions, committed with our tax dollars, are “humanitarian”, remember that none of the calamities easily is cleared and cleaned. Our wars, response to disasters, negligence, lack of accountability, and disregard for the future of our planet are crises whose ramifications aren’t just unremitting but, also, portend a world that’s uninhabitable by anything except microbes that thrive on radiation.

If we persist in shortsightedness, ignoring the chaos that’s spreading across this big floor we call Earth, we are acquiescing to annihilation.

Missy Beattie is exhausted in Baltimore. Commiserate with her at missybeat@gmail.com.


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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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