Seeking Elvis

My father would do anything for his children:
follow flambeaux through Mardi Gras streets
until his back ached from the broken seat
of our Chevy, uplifted by a wedge of pine,
or dress again at ten p.m. to hunt beignets.

Once, while we were in Catholic school,
our uniforms betrayed us at noon
on city buses. My father quickly forgave
me and my sister for playing hooky.
Unlike my mother, generous in her way,
he figured we had already been suspended,
might seize the hour to find our idol.

Seeking Elvis, he combed the Quarter,
found him at Lake Pontchartrain.
That night, after a day in the sun near
Camp LeRoy Johnson and the swampy pier
where King Creole was being filmed,
he chauffeured us to the Roosevelt,
waded the torrents of screams, the hands
grappling for a Western Union card
the King had signed. It was a prize
a bellhop reeled like a lure, a prize
I took home with my father.

Stella Ann Nesanovitch
from her book Vespers at Mount Angel
Xavier Review Press, 2004

used with permission of the poet

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