New Orleans Spring

Once New Orleans weather starts to warm
it becomes quite bearable in shirt sleeves
to linger under the carport at night
enjoying a cigarette in the dark

while the light scent of jasmine fills the air
and the bustle on the main streets is slowed
(in those few short weeks before summer starts,
and the dense, wet weighted swelter bears down

to sap the strength from your pores, and slowly
suck the breath from your lungs – even the cloud
of smoke leaking from a cigarette sags
to the ground under that ponderous damp)

and in those too few evenings of short spring,
before the chorus of locusts comes back
from its winter hiatus to rehearse
and the palmetto bugs (or big roaches)

are still hidden, too busy with breeding
to venture out and scratch at the screen door
it is often very still and quiet –
and you can forget you are underneath

a carport (in a sometimes dangerous
city where tourists come to drink too much,
urinate on the streets, and leave their trash)
and see beauty in the sunset’s colors.

17 MAR 2004

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