Ya Think?

“Cynic,”she called me
when I said, “Disasters
shouldn’t be this much fun,”
and laughed out loud at
bouncing cheerleaders
in short skirts holding
hastily scrawled signs reading,
“Help Katrina’s Victims,”
and pointed us to yet
another car wash
where we could watch
idealistic teens try
to scrub away
generations of neglect.

“Americans love a good
disaster,” I retorted.
Nothing makes us feel
as good as helping
those we’ve exploited
the last 150 years.
For half a millisecond
we’re one nation, under God,
invisible, clothing the poor
by emptying closets
of Calvin Klein jeans,
Vera Wang dresses,
and, later, deducting twice
the value of our donations.