days crawl by and humidity stills the air. the black flies are late this season, though around here, most things are. below the gnat line, girls like me seldom get to die easily, perfumed powders masking the scent of illness, flushed cheeks and damp foreheads donned as our feeble bodies recline on fainting couches to delicately languish away. we know that there’s a certain beauty to decomposition, to fungus gnats invading potted soil, to fruit flies nesting in sink drains. we know that rotting is a clock that never stops, tallying each unflinching, humid second while the days crawl by.
June bugs crash into screens mosquitoes whine to get in by any means dogs howl, frogs croak like the bass fiddle in Lightning Hopkins’ blues. Sticky moisture from the bayou envelopes, and soaks through, permeates still night air like the sad strains of Claude’s La Mer.
Growing up in southern climes slowed days, stretched years put me on the edge of tears yearning for escape from there from dominion of church and Mama’s monarch perch.
Hints of her softness were so rare and spare that when she let us smooth her hair we forgot how parched were we for a trace of this tender intimacy on summer nights’ scorch spent on our homestead porch.
Before the advent of air conditioning families, especially children, spent lots of time on their front porches. This poem is an attempt to describe the experiences there of one little Cajun-French girl. This is the second of the Teche Series of poems inspired by the memoir of my cousin, Melanie Durand Grossman, "Crossing Bayou Teche."
Retreating from weighty day of toil I settle my slack on tailored sprawl of lawn Compressed soil radiating ; tapped battery of a day's warmth Life is raised through my cartridge I stretch out receiving reptile charge
Aimed shyly at the expansive dark bedding of night sky speckled pierced pecked at with pinholes... each emitting brilliance firing out fuel exhaust from further worlds less adulterated than our own
There is a correspondence amongst the insects in the grass ticking, clicks and tats like static amongst laundry There's a great correspondence out there in the night sky
here am invulnerable human suburban and secure belly...
a cross draft from the open basement window invades me eggy sulphur burping from the drains an organic degassing from below my house
: Betrayed !
my feeling passes the stars behave stagnant and dismissive of me ; withholding glove oblivion ; the clouds step in like a quick curtain over some 'lewd private show' (must I pay more to see more ?) My world is kept restrictive ; a muzzling
I bare the weight still of the days wetter ill Better off indoors filtered of my own dander and projected upon by a feeding screen