Summer in New Orleans

   Such sweet thunder
with sidewalks that talk of
generations of families
from music makers–
those clapping gospel riffs
and Alleluia Sundays in neighborhood churches–
to food fed spirits
when Cawain is a spring event
of 21-meat tastes stewed or
Red Beans and Rice raise the Monday
blues to rhapsody
for every feuding face that
genuflects before grottoes,
of the Blessed Virgin,
the mini altars between
many shot-gun steps,
the Blessed Mother
the sweetest protector
of Catholic school-girl dreams
and prayers of the faithful.
New Orleans of sunshine
and novenas, prayers of petition
and thanks for favors
granted through Crescent City
Saints: St. Jude, St. Peter Claver, Saints Martin and Anthony,
St. Raymond, St. Raphael, St. Maria Garetti. . .
The kneeling down and incense-prayers going up
for loved ones and friends in need.
Blessings of St. Augustine grass,
greening Faubourgs, tall spread oaks and
Louisiana Pines, rain for
Camellia blooms even in winter,
and in summers of heat and showers
like a million mosquito hawks tap dancing on roof tops,
such sweet thunder.


Mona Lisa Saloy
from her book Red Beans and Ricely Yours
Truman State University Press, 2005
reprinted with permission of the poet

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