Friday, February 24, 2012

Live Oaks, New Orleans

They square off along Napoleon avenue,
opposing armies of dark women, leaning out
so far their branches meet at the top, like hands
grabbing fistfuls of tangled hair;
and some of them are old, with the thick,
scarred trunks of Storyville madams, and
roots so strong their suck heaves
up the sidewalk like so many broken
saltines. And some are young, with the
straightbacked bodies of girls who dream
of horses and the brown arms of the neighbor boys,
but underground the red roots grow together,
fuse in a living circuitry spun deep and
stronger than the whims of emperors, as if
they've known all along that earth's the right
place for love, as though, planted in battle lines,
they incline toward the circle, and hold it open,
vaulted and welcoming.
"Live Oaks, New Orleans" by Jennifer Maier, from Dark Alphabet. © Southern Illinois University Press, 2006

This poem reminded the SRN of the heaved brick sidewalk on Wheeling Island
Photo taken after a walk over the Wheeling Suspension Bridge in 1997.