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Dancing at Tipitina’s after the Flood

My husband frowns because I don’t stay home

anymore. Sunday afternoon, he is planting new

crepe myrtles, or painting over brown scum waterlines

that ring our house. I take off for Tip’s to waltz in the arms

of “God knows whom” Bernie says. “Whom,” I correct

him. “You’re wrong,” he says, “it’s whom.” Whatever.

Sundays at three, it’s the Bruce Daigrepont band.

They’ve played every week since the children were really

children. April, 2006, Tips reopens and I am there, like clockwork. 

It=s down the street past weary houses and yards of car corpses. 

My best friend meets me there and we Cajun jitterbug with courteous

country boys and crazy, middle aged bachelors who ask

a different girl with every song. I spin til my vision tilts,

and I wear my fresh, post-Katrina now-I-can-dance skirt,

and my mind fogs over stale thoughts of bidding

building contractors and that dead end Road Home program. 

Sunday, after three, no more putrid trash piles in the street and

no yellow barricade police ribbons around the suicide house of the week.

I look over the rounded shoulder at my chin, and see a sea of used

up faces that just stare back. The dancers become a wave

of sweaty, mindless bodies that rock-sway, rock-sway into muddy

water. My nostrils fill with the scent of red beans and rice and stale

beer. Daigrepont’s voice calls out; Gina Foresythe’s fiddle cry cuts

back and forth above our heads and I sway in the blue

arms of God knows whom.

City of Hey Baby

“Dancing at Tipitina’s After the Flood,” Swamp Lily Review

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