He thought of the innocent mornings on Bourbon Street,
of the sunny courtyard and the iron
lion’s head on the door.
He thought of the quality light could not be expected
to have again after rain,
the pigeons and drunkards coming together from under
the same stone arches, to move again in the sun’s
faint mumble of benediction with faint surprise.
He thought of the tall iron horseman before the Cabildo,
tipping his hat so gallantly towards old wharves,
the mist of the river beginning to climb about him.
He thought of the rotten-sweet odor of Old Quarter had,
so much like a warning of what he would have to learn.
He thought of belief and the gradual loss of belief
and the piercing together of something like it again.
But, oh, how his blood had almost turned in color
when once, in response to a sudden call from a window,
he stopped on a curbstone and first thought,
Love, Love, Love.
He knew he would say it. But could he believe it again?
He thought of Irene whose body was offered at night
behind the cathedral, whose outspoken pictures were hung
outdoors, in the public square,
as brutal as knuckles smashed into grinning faces.
He thought of merchant sailor who wrote of the sea,
haltingly, with a huge power locked in a halting tongue–
Lost in a tanker off the Florida coast,
the locked and virginal power burned in oil.
He thought of the opulent antique dealers on Royal
whose tables of rosewood gleamed as blood under lamps.
He thought of his friends.
He thought of his lost companions,
of all he had touched and all whose touch he had known.
He wept for remembrance.
But when he had finished weeping, he washed his face,
he smiled at his face in the mirror, preparing to say
to you, whom he was expecting.
Love. Love. Love
But could he believe it again?