Tuesday, much glitter
filling the gutter, parade
on some Zulu, carnival king,
beloved drunk with his drunk mother
river teasing the city with its obesity
the whole damn Gulf dyed purple
as a bruise on the thigh, backside
round as hallelujah in the mouth,
handsome cab, Gud Whiskey
poured in the ear, a dance reduced
to the bend in a beaux’s wrist that says yes
blessed black eye given
to the bigot, sea of plastic beads,
revelry after the club closes, that way
the Quarters club the air with music
beat on a beat on a beat
dozen playing by the corner men
Gumbo pot filled to the top
Po’boy longer than your arm
Mema’s house on a cinder block
quatrain, darkness fat as hamhock
that new world fleur-de-lis
stamped on the back of fool’s gold,  Easy
gone big, a saint with the other saints
amassing at the only Matins that matter–
the trumpet player bending a minor scale
until its penitent then making sin
or just after, a waning moon mimics
the city’s sickle shape, anemia mimicking too
as much as a sycophant, the Yat some speak
an unteachable accent, the garrulous polyglot
Gulf seductive as the Aegean, triptychs
in Zydeco’s bassline long enough to write
the epics that won’t console, like a lip-smack
left cold on a stranger’s breast, or a field
of Elysium but really just a street
running through New Orleans
along bones layered with neighborhood
fat and hungry bulldozers, a parade
down to Lent, asking of God
what’s He giving up, that time
He said this city and everyone
laughed, lifting their feathered masks to kiss
that night the ends in Wednesday’s ash

Steven Leyva was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas. His poems have appeared 2 Bridges ReviewFledgling RagThe Light EkphrasticThe Cobalt Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is a Cave Canem fellow, the winner of the 2012 Cobalt Review Poetry Prize, and author of the chapbook Low Parish. Steven holds a MFA from The University of Baltimore, where he teaches in the undergraduate writing program.

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