Pluit Pumphouse

Pluit Pumphouse

has a monkey in a tiny cage
and a strutting tom turkey proud
as any peacock he’s never seen.

A cat prowls next to the trees, and
two men sit on milk crates and watch,
all sound drowned out by the pump,

by the gallons of fetid, rancid water
gushing out the stagnant canal. They
sit on crates and watch us pass. They

pump away at the canal all day
and never witness the water drop. Pluit’s
pumphouse sits below the level

of yonder sea, so the monkey folds
his limbs in the tiny cage and wraps
his raisin fingers round the wire while

the tom plumps his plumes and the cat
has disappeared into the trees. Water
will rush through pumps day past day

and the canal never drop. We ask what
will happen when floodwaters come.
The men on the create will wear ponchos,

maybe, and the tom strut beneath the roof
and their caged money perhaps nap. I
wonder what can be done to drop the sea

or raise the pumphouse above its level,
but now the cigarettes are lit and still
two men sit under the muggy palms and watch.

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