Barbara Crooker

 
 

NEW ORLEANS

Give me a Hurricane in a go cup. Or an Abita amber,
dark and bitter. Wrap me up a muffaletta in waxed
paper, heavy on the olive mix. Don’t leave me
on the levee, listening for the faint echo of drums
in Congo Square or the ghost of Marie Laveau.
Rock me Mama like a hurricane, rock me Mama
like a southbound train, because we know
that the big one’s coming, the one that will
carry us away. Until then, let’s talk about
tomorrow’s dinner while we’re eating today’s,
barbecued shrimp at Mr. B’s, oysters at the Acme,
Pimm’s Cup at Napolean House. The rich gumbo
of accents and skin tones. The roux that thickens
your blood in a Second Line. Turn up the heat
on a pot full of pralines; let it blub like lava. I’m
starting to glow, because Southern women don’t
perspire. Let me simmer slowly on your back element,
baby; don’t let me stick and burn.

 
 

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