Today's poem is by Mona Lisa Saloy

New Orleans, a Neighborhood Nation

Possums sleep, middle of the road sometimes,
Invade soggy walls after hurricanes dump heavy rains,
Hide in clothes closets and eat through my canvas book bags
Must taste like peanut butter and strawberry jam, the
Pages of wisdom spread like confetti on the floor.

10,000 spiders live in my neighborhood.
What grows wild sticks like thorns
What crawls will bite you red and blue
Roaches spread wings past dusk, invade doorjambs
We grow, eat, and love okra; there
Ain't no proper gravy without a little slime
Veggie slimes are us Black folks on this planet

We know folks backwards and forwards
Translate: to every little thing, nothing forgotten

Y'all is singular, plural, and a sweet sound in our ears
Festivals are us: shrimp, satsumas, tomato, rice, crawfish, blues & jazz

We throw hissy fits in a heartbeat
Find cayenne, salt, onion, celery, parsley, and thyme on
Yard birds baked, fried, or stewed, even on the other
White meat, anything that swims in a bayou, lake or river:
Catfish, grouper, red fish, crab, sheephead, cawain.
Out of bread? Whip up gallait or fritters deep-fried with
Ripe bananas or a pocket of plantains in season; just honey to taste.

When weather dips below 70, not too low our
Winters without cold, then it's gumbo time.
Okra, seafood, or beans de jour: red beans, white beans, butter beans
crowder peas
Plus black-eyed peas, the eyes of God on us

We still make hucklebucks in summer
Make suppers to raise bucks for folks stuck between a
Rock & a hard place, and pass potato salad over a
Fence for a backyard barbeque with hot beer and
Hurricane cocktails at sunset in yards or on
Galleries glad for time measured in minutes.

Copyright © 2014 Mona Lisa Saloy All rights reserved
from Second Line Home
Truman State University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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