The night was cold
well, cold for their southern clime
a chill wind blew down from the north
and tangled the Spanish moss in the arms of the oaks
gas lamps guttered as the street cars rumbled on
and even though the pale hand of autumn was knocking on the door
there was still the barest hint of summertime jasmine in the air
mingling with the smells of the river
carrying along the light airy notes of a saxophone from Jackson Square
slate stone on the ground
makes a clip clop echo against weathered facades
cast iron fleur-de-lis knotted and black
like cursed flowers under an ancient spell
hide crackle-painted shutters and the soft light of hurricane lamps
wind chimes dance a duet with the night air
late October in New Orleans
nature finally grants my city a reprieve
from the humid and saturating heat
that constantly keeps her elegant brown neck
glistening with dewdrops of sweet magnolia sweat
I love this place
my swampland home
for all her sorted and sketchy past
she remains ever the Lady I know her to be
and she welcomes me here
in her streets on this chilly evening
when the crescent moon hangs over the crescent river
to pass the time with this woman at my side
a warm and ferocious spirit
who walks close against my flank
entangled her arm in the crook of my own
She has found a slight bit of comfort against the chill
having pilfered my jacket to hang about her shoulders
we southerners are a finicky sort
10 months of the year we stand in the corona of the sun
and wish for the icy depths of the black between the stars
and then when it is delivered, we shiver and hiss
like the cat who has been run off by the garden hose
our world comes to an end
when the thermometer points to the ground
our lives in the tropics encourage us
to stay in our cedar-floored Victorians
seeking warmer gatherings behind Greek revival columns
and floor-to-ceiling drapes pooled in shades of blue taffeta
But she, my confidant, and I
have eschewed our native instincts and enjoy the night
to walk in the glow of gas lamps with goose-pimpled skin
eyes shedding watery tribute as they are blustered by a cooling zephyr
we keep our tongues warm
with pleasant conversation and the wistful musings of past lives
the times our souls have touched before now
how the touch of her arm against mine
is familiar to the chemicals that float in my brain
my eyes do not remember but my heart is no stranger to her voice
my ears do not remember but they know the outline of her face
how our steps, together in stride
spell out a story that happened so long ago
it is written in biblical dust
could only be found among the scribblings in holy texts
beside the promises of salvation and damnation
our names are printed in the margin
we are an enigma
to ourselves and the archeologists that first found our remains
on our knees in a full embrace
on the edge of the apocalypse, we were the first to burn
we have worn the moniker of martyr and hero
our lives are sown into the fabric of battle standards and funeral shrouds
I deliver her to her front door
the white-chipped painted porch swing, sighs on its rusted chain
the cracked glass of the door lamp dome
spills fractured light upon the green storm shutters and her face
my heart agrees with the swing
I’ve no passion for leaving her here
to wave goodbye to her, as the oak door shuts
with a gentle rattle from the thin-glass multi-paned windows
and a faint clumping away of her heels on the barge-wood floors
I turn, suddenly missing, with bitter heartache, the weight of her arm on mine
I thread my arms into my ransomed jacket
and as I shrug it up onto my shoulders
her spirit, a ghostly apparition of her scent, wafts up into my face
I breathe deep and straighten the lapels
finding a stray strand of her dark tresses upon my shoulder
I leave it proudly
this Lady’s favor
upon my pauldron

About Eric

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13 Responses to Memento…

  1. Orvillewrong says:

    Wonderful imagery I loved it !

  2. Kindra M. Austin says:

    Epic and full of images that give me goosebumps. You are a class act, Eric. Much love! ❤

  3. Eric says:

    Thank you, Angela! I like those lines too. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Rita says:

    Wowsa! Love this ❤️

  5. the spell is cast
    by midnight sky
    soft streetlights
    autumn breeze
    rustling the leaves
    crisp around our feet
    scent of cedar
    and faded jasmine
    the ghost of your arm
    strong beneath my

  6. Eric says:

    I hope you get to, too! Thank you so much for visiting me here today, Em. Seeing your footprints around my page brings a huge smile to my face. ❤

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