so we settle on this sacred swamp the newest land the weakest land this brackish backfill clot and hemorrhage into open water
in the parlance of Atlantis this could be a map or a mop this St. Claude block the way the evening slurps the traffic and tides and termites together the way the rubble heaves and sinks in echoes into the gulf
my people settlers settle hers unsubtle heirs to this bombed-out boulevard on the edge of the oily abyss we descend on white latitudes into the valley of the shadow of the Industrial Canal levee wrap our claims in prayer flags and banana patches oil our iron horses and moisturize our neck tattoos
Konkababy shrugs her Greco-Roman shoulders and picks her grin with a phrenologist's calipers she sips chronotope splosions and fingers this razor rhizome with an adumbrated gaze
she calls me a crypto-fascist or mission creep says she should have spected some-thin-wrong from the ghost cypress spokes and man-grove bones where the backatown bayou used to be says she should have sassinated me first thing
since the storm she says it takes her ten hours to get six of sleep cause something in her stays awake that's why the weekends and evenings pool in the same skull hollows the persistent tug of melody slips through her sleep like a cowrie scream or one white elephant calling another the subsonic suck of river rocks knocking in the headwaters of hurt
still she says she could cohere in it this green dot mirage this kudzu patch this barrier island between the downtown gentry and the decanter of the southern sea
so she steps out on shallow water steps out on pneumonic song she steps out neck first through this nervous coalition of light
among the corbels and cowbells bucket-beaten bamboola compound raptures and breech-loaded finger bones she sings shoo fly don't bother me! I step out on sallow soul shoo fly don't bother me! her soft-boiled body glazed in surface tension shoo fly don't bother me! she scrapes her machete through the pressured-treated evening shoo fly don't bother me!
born out on a boil order don't bother me! she says the blue note is the sound of the silt digging its heels in all the way down the delta
says it coalesces here as Louisiana this last floret of skin tearing off into the oily abyss
shoo fly in her song—like the gulf a dialect of the sea—I hear the earth's accretions eaten beneath me shoo fly don't bother me!
Spree MacDonald lives in New Orleans and is the Chair of the Humanities Department at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. His poetry has been previously published in South Africa, the USA, and the UK, and was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize. His essays on Africana literary and cultural studies have also been published in journals and edited books throughout the world.