Blowout

Rebecca Dunham

from the testimony of Micah Sandell, Steve Bertone, Douglas
Brown, & Randy Ezell, as recorded in the National Commission
on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill & Offshore Drilling’s
Report to the President.

up on the main deck      I seen mud
shooting all the way up to the derrick      gas
& smoke filled      so loud      like taking an air
hose & sticking it in your ear      starboard
explosion      knocked to the floor      —fire—
to the back of the cab      hands on my head

• •

a freight train thumping in my head
lights out      a man so coated in blood
I had no idea who      P.A. System: Fire.
Fire. Fire.      taste & smell of fuel      gas
fire from derrick leg to leg out the starboard
window      They are all gone      methane air

• •

in the engine control room      loud air
leak sound      the alarms wailed & I heard
well-control situation      fell through subfloor
amid cable trays      wires      into the mud-
dark      buried under ceiling      gas
ripping      engine rev      a second blast fired

• •

look down      in the moon pool only fire’s
solid sheet      look up      nothing here
but flames way past the crown      deck gassed
slick      1 ½ inches deep      —head
for the lifeboats      abandon ship—      mud
thick as mucus      don’t slip      starboard

• •

heat & smoke boiled from the rig      sun-star
bright      a blast furnace      the fire
our only light      I crawled over rubble
over a body      I could feel the droplets of air
misting my skin      methane      heard
an ocean on fire      a deafening roar of lit gas

• •

have we EDSed      yes      have we EDSed,
I have to be certain      yes      the control board
lit red      debris-clogged ether      the jumpers’ heads
visible amid the waves      & on fire-
licked rafts the passengers rock in acrid air
We need a knife      terror’s coat a dense mud

• •

on the Bankston a black torrent      (head back
500 m.)
      an egret mud-covered on starboard deck
& that pyre      the dead the very air we breathe

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