She read my pamphlet and invited me to church,
showed up in my sickbed dressed in muddy coveralls
singing old mountain songs.
She accepted a stranger’s plastic cup of gumbo
off the stove and glided one last look my way, under
quilts knit by mystery mothers.
She had to leave without saying goodbye. She and
her acquaintances were scheduled to shutdown traffic
with giant helium puppet shows.
Shutdown four lane county roads, although she would
come back to find me. Off she flew like a hawk, while
gumbo cup man, his wife and
my brother chatted about her as a bird. Her hands
looked like clay and touched like raindrops, her hair
was short enough to climb trees.
Her age was old as the land, her future as new as
one could wish. Nothing to do now but chew the gumbo
man’s shrimp, wonder how not to shatter.
Waking up with so little to expect, so much to hope
for. I looked out to the woods and saw her path of
snapped saplings trailing off into days.
A 1940s issue canvas collar curled above her family
name and her bright 1920s issue bob cut blonde hair
curled above that. I mean, incidentally.
Listen, I would have you reach for things above the
fridge, and you would have me reach for things beside
the fridge, and the next thing you know
we’d be fighting street to street. But this isn’t Normandy,
this is the French Quarter, the Vieux Carré. On the Mississippi,
the bank sinister…
or is Algiers the bank sinister? Or was John Crowe Ransom
a doofus, calling your dreams self-contained, -referential,
aesthetic… please don’t go…
Another dream about a woman, and the Mississippi lapping
against the levee when I woke up. Turning to face the city,
trailing off in brass and drums.