Samba in the Sky

By Tiffany Higgins Tiffany Higgins
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.

Source: Poetry (November 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2013
 Tiffany  Higgins


Tiffany Higgins is the author of And Aeneas Stares into Her Helmet (2009), selected by Evie Shockley as the winner of the 2008 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in the Massachusetts Review, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, Prelude, Catamaran Literary Reader, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Audio recordings of her poems and commentary on poetics appear on the website, From the Fishouse

Evie Shockley wrote of And . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Social Commentaries, Class


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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