August in New Orleans

There was a strange quiet to the morning air
before the streetlights blinked their last, and the
pale moon still shone from its place in the sky.

It was already warm and wet, the dew
rising from the ground only a short way
and then sagging back to earth as the weight
of the motionless dawn lay like molten
lead on its shoulders. The birds had not yet
left their nests to forage in the first light,
and only a single car, its windows fogged
with the settled damp, pierced the slow ether
of the muted world as its driver gunned
its engine passing over the dark levee.

The night had done little to cool the hot
earth, and it lay bathed in its sauna steam
that clung like a low-lying, feral fog
to the drooping branches of the live oak,
elm and magnolia trees. Then, as the dark
of evening lost its hold to the coming
sun, and the dirty yellow glow of the
streetlamps seemed to be swallowed, extinguished
by the soft, hazy grip of the greasy
light, I lit a cigarette, its rough skin
like mine already made limp and sweaty
by the humid and cloying atmosphere,
and watched as my exhaled smoke gently hung
there, and then disappeared, as if absorbed.

25 AUG 2003

I guess there are SOME advantages to having to get up at 5:30 to take your daughter to swim team practice. Offhand, however, only being able to see clearly (due to both the fog in the air and the fog in my brain) during the return trip certainly puts those advantages in doubt.

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