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Among us one has named himself the hero boatman
Of every canvas: Somebody dreams of me when they painting.
I hate to confess I’m more into their carrying on
Than the Katrina paintings of Rolland Golden.
He paints to testify—flood stain eternal smeared
On shotgun houses, the color of a doomsday sunset,
But what about us, his subjects, a cast of thousands
With no speaking parts, and no names but the titles
He assigns, like “Helicopter Hands?’ Not unlike Mardi Gras,
Their shadowy reaches, their shouts and motions, all of it mute
to the man turning his back to walk inside and wait.
Next to me is someone’s date in a rabbit fur coat
And too much glitter for a grandma. She drones on,
But I’m stuck on the fur coat that down here she wears
Two times a year, tonight, tiny chill, being number one.
That’s by my mama’s house. We used to eat there after church.
Mystery coat, I let myself wonder if she bought it
With a FEMA check, though she could have packed it
In garbage bags before heading to her shelter of last resort,
The fur her one necessity besides Tijuana the cockatiel
And a box of Cheese-Its. I think she sees herself
As the woman he’s got wading through the street
With a suitcase balanced on her hairdo. God Bless.
He calls her ‘Headed for the Superdome,” and in the bag,
Bulgy but invisible, all of her story, all of her wealth.