New Orleans 2020

“Do you know what it means
To miss New Orleans?”

Fifteen years ago
The levees broke
I had tickets
For the Rolling Stones Concert
In Scott Stadium

I saw them for the first time
In Colorado
In the seventies
Or was it the sixties
God, we drove to Fort Collins
From Boulder
Hippies all
Stoned
Stopped by the
Police
Who laughed and sent us on our way

But I gave the tickets away
Not then but later
Fifteen years ago

My sister
Recovering from surgery and chemo and radiation
And her husband
Legally blind
Had evacuated to my house
But when they could go back
They went
In October
Just days before the concert

I offered to go
But my sister said no
She would be alright
She always was

Then she called
Please come

So I gave my tickets away
And bought a ticket for one of the few flights
Into New Orleans

Looking very old and gray
Not a Mardi Gras bead in sight
Sideways crosses on doorways
Piles of furnishings on lawns
Refrigerators taped closed

And the Mormons
The bloody generous Mormons
Giving out water and cleaning kits
Everywhere
In this very Catholic city

So much gray

“Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game”

And now again
The specter returns
With scythe and skull

Do you know what it means
To mourn with New Orleans?

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