End Notes

café au lait with galait
pan-fried and flat
like the raindrops this
morning. We smell the
rain before it comes
to visit, the damp
aroma its calling card.

All legs, feet,
and “hey nows,” the sun
kissed us olive from
New World Louisiana Creole gumbo,
like the greyas
of whatever’s in the kitchen
sink, with
merliton, parsley,
and onion to taste.
No one yells
cause we carry
“how’re ya doing’s” and
“s’il vous plaits” between
“pas connais.”
We save our clothes,
make groceries,
wash and scrub the porch and
the banquette with lye
after hucklebuck spills
or boiled crawfish leavings
to clean and erase evil spells.
No insults shake us.
Naivete warms us.
Our hands toughen after
sewing machine needles
tattoo lives of customs and
costumes each Mardi Gras.

We out-laugh enemies,
close louvers to their
curses, retreat
to the gallery
where lemonade and
laughter lives.

I ready my kerchief and
umbrella for the next
Second Line and
catch new tales.


Mona Lisa Saloy
from her book Between Laughter and Tears: Black Mona Lisa Poems
Black Bayou Press, 1995

used with permission of the poet

Comments are closed.