Louisiana: April 1998

Louisiana twenty years later:
Soft blue April days,
Places and people one never really left,
Prescient of the familiar phrases of friends,
The plantation around the next bend
On the River Road.
Tourbuses tromp through galleried halls
Built by absentee sugar barons,
Now owned by Australians.
In the French Quarter,
More psychics, fewer artists.
We drive by the houses
Where our girls were children,
Remembered restaurants gone.
Louisiana, its vulnerable beauty
Intact within layers of memory
Not so deep as one had thought,
Called up by mornings redolent of coffee,
Sweet olive, the river, unseen behind the levee.
Those were good years, he had said, maybe the best.

Two Old Teachers

Forty years ago I watched a friend retire:
Box upon box of brittle notes,
Purple ditto masters, faded and smeared,
Slowly down the paneled English hall,
Keatsí bust staring.
Yesterday I deleted computer files,
Obscure lore with links to the arcane.
Are you sure, the machine asked;
Perhaps was not an option,
My click sudden and final.

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