Tiffany Higgins

Samba in the Sky

The poor have the best views,
Views sloping down to sea.

A green and yellow planet,
A blue band, rung with stars.

The poor have the best views.
You have to walk to get there.

Up three flights, narrow paths,
Houses rising steeply side to side.

No, no space for a car.
When the flag lifts, you see the coast:

Yellow curve of sand,
Framed by reaching branches.

Little humpbacked islands,
Soon they will drill for oil there,

Deep underwater. Once microscopic
Diatoms swarmed in salt, danced, died.

Fell to the bottom of fathoms, became black
Slick hid in shale. They drill down miles…

(Police arriving at the edge
Of the mind.)

Are you thirsty? Something to drink?
Please sit down. Yes, the game is on.

We built that room by hand. I lie
In bed at night dreaming of a new room,

One jutting into sky. The eldest
Daughter’s in university. Economics,

But she switched to Environment.

Out the door, the flag lifts, reveals.
(Curve of Rio.) Ordem e progresso.

The poor have the best views,
Samba in the sky.


“Samba in the Sky” first appeared in Poetry, November 2013.