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To Hurricane Juan, 1985


I think I was still fighting the algae in my mouth when
a man made of silver wagged
his tongue at my skirt.

He bent his metallic-crusted skin at me.
He folded his body down the middle
to an almost collapse and then

slobbered, "Don't you know, kid?
The sun never goes down in New Orleans."
But I have seen this city lay down its sex

atop a great flood,
and I have known the snakes that have slithered
round the legs of the marching surviving.

We walked the brick through the water,
and we walked the bridge like crawfish
jumping the nets.

We lost the light somewhere
after Lake Pontchartrain,
and fizzled out like dead wormholes of craving.

The pelicans will still fly at night.
They care not for shadows and
the killing of smoke that still

grips for vision.
The city will continue in its found dark,
the rain falling as slapping quarters

to embrace the crying sidewalks.

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About April Michelle Bratten

April Michelle Bratten lives in the sad plains of North Dakota. She is named after a poodle that got hit by a car when her mother was in high school. She doesn't like poodles much. She has a large birthmark in the shape of a P on her right wrist. She hopes to God it does not stand for "poodle."


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