For Jean

I walk the backstreets of your Quarter
Narrow, tripping over ancient cobbles
Your hideaway dark and dank, moss
lingering inside by the waxen taper.

Were you really a blacksmith? Did you
Shod the hooves of the jaunty mules,
Ancestors of those I see today?
Not pulling coffins or contraband

But black-knee-socked tourists, straw
boaters predominant on bald heads
Jingling down the Basin bound for
Beads, cups and calliope tooting tourist traps.

Unlike you. You were a devilish swashbuckler
Raven hair, brooding eyes with a vision
Of what you wanted from the Delta queens
and Voodoo bayous. They were yours.

They still are.

7/98

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Pamela J. Polley

Sprit of New Orleans

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