At the mouth of the Pearl there is a bar of white sand
where you can stand without other footprints far about.
When weather dries out the water is neat and the land
bends brighter tunes; but I’d rather have the rain and heat
to keep me thinking slowly while I spin this story.
Upriver on Blue Bayou, where mud swirls in chocolate whirls
and catfish swim like chopped liver in brown gravy, Daniel
rests in Boudreax’s bar, still as a gator in December,
and watches Emma Lou, a woman with much pain remembered,
take her Lou’siana Sugar Daddy on communion wafers.
Through an open window Daniel sees the portly parish priest
mulching in his garden, scratching in the refuse of the canned,
digging for the sun; rich solar earth soaked ebony
in the blood of butterflies, the rum of garden cuttings,
blessed with years of flooding and tons of river sand.
The priest was justly famous for his moral admonitions, fine
but dangerous ammunitions, a loose cannon exploding, assaulting:
verbal statuary, Mecca bucks of reliquary, communion wine,
and peeling paint unreached upon the molded plaster ceiling.
A voice of unappealing views shared with many empty pews.
Back before Earl of Pearl was a new phylum in the asylum,
drinking sapphire wine was not a crime unless you used a glass.
Old Man’s Big Rock Candy Fountains were not so far away;
Sugar Bowls were uptown as canned peaches and parfait;
and Tigers were much faster than a Gator any day.
The Cajun girl, dark eyes not bright, asleep upright, whispered
“Emma Lou, we love you. What will all you bastards do?”