Going Back to New Orleans

In April, will be returning to New Orleans after some years away, attending an occupational therapy conference downtown.  And will land aswirl in memories from those sowing wild oats years immediately after college, when I rented a Magazine Street apartment without window screens or furniture, bought a used mattress, card table and lawn chair, and sat on a sagging back porch with my Smith-Corona, struggling mightily with this frivolous puzzle, how to write a poem.  The previous summer, I’d spent at home in Fork Union, VA, working a failing farm with my father.  That time, too, glows in memory.  Here’s one of the first things I’d call a poem written on that Uptown porch:

A FISH STORY

I like a life
that grasps life,
one tipped a bit
to the instinctive side,
that will dare the
touch of an
other.

I like Daddy
cornering a catfish
pausing
still as a stump

arm-diving
scooping the
yard of
fish
from the pool
a raving
urgent
muscle
and tossing again to cool freedom in the slipping
water.

I like the background
the one that threw him
in four feet of water
four feet long

heels up
on a fish’s back
and all the brothers
laughing –

Like I say
the balance
slightly
tipped.

4 thoughts on “Going Back to New Orleans

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