"Fan" - Perri Sonnier Davis. Oil pastel
Flip flops slapping on bare heels
in February. The earth smells
like New Orleans summer. I heard
up north snow doesn’t last anymore.
In February the earth smells
of flowers and hurricanes.
Thoughts of snow don’t last any more
than an ice cube melting on a hot forehead
in a winter full of flowers and hurricanes.
The land under us is no more steady
than an ice cube melting on a hot forehead;
it falls into the Gulf like a drunk off a stool.
The land under us is steady no more.
Will our feet fumble off the dirt
and into the Gulf like a drunk off a stool?
Will we float in the muddy waters?
Our feet fumbling where there was once dirt?
We wish for solid land or
to float in the muddy waters
to dance in the soupy warmth.
There’s fish where there once was land, they
flip flop, slapping our bare heels
that used to dance in the soupy warmth
like New Orleans summers I heard of before.
Drifting Past My Fingers Like a Leaf
When I thought I saw you in the street, I
raised my hand as if to catch a leaf, but
realized it wasn’t you and stood there,
blushing, dropped my hand down to my side, where
there it sat. As I remembered when Ms.
Clark, our first grade teacher, told us if you
catch a leaf, it gives you luck. I tried so
hard to catch a leaf, but every time they
slipped right through my fingers like the smile I
couldn’t see slipped from your face. It
crumpled dry and lifeless to the ground cause
you’re a lake away: thirteen, bursting
at the sixth grade classroom’s seams, like a goldfish
in a bowl kept small by glass. And the boys
who used to stare at your
body, pick your bra straps, the way you
picked at your food. A carrot for lunch
you always said you “had fluff,”
though we didn’t see it, like we couldn’t see
you, past the ends of our booger filled noses,
too busy jumping in piles of leaves,
and you’re buried somewhere underneath.
Trapped where we can’t get to you until
you’re dragged away and still
I really thought I’d see you again.