Today's poem is by Richard Garcia

New Orleans

You're strolling hand in hand, occasional
mouth to mouth, through the French Quarter,
all bons temps rouler, when a one-eyed jack
gives you the mal ojo. So you duck into a shop
where an African mask with a corona of snake
warns you in the voice of Marie Laveau—Your wife,
she look for juju to hoodoo you. But you
don't care, you're off to the bayou, where Spanish
moss drips from banyan trees that are up
to their knees in trouble, and the pluff mud smells,
your lover says, just like childhood—sour pennies
in morning mist. Your tour guide, Mr. Magpie,
god of the crossroads, fluent in English, Creole,
French, Gullah, walks by your side. He of the frock coat.
Tiny preacher, hands behind his back—talk to him,
he'll listen, head cocked to one side, nodding.

Copyright © 2005 Richard Garcia All rights reserved
from Quarterly West
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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