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A Song for New Orleans

Each street is covered in mud,

stray dogs search for their owners bodies

they toss and tumble through the wreckage

like dendrites, millions

of branched extensions pile in the streets

a nightmare from hell. Blue gray

bits of flesh become one with murky water.

The population size diminishes down

to the size of a single axon,

the stadium its terminal.

Black arms above rooftops, seeking a signal,

a recognizable sound, of no one is coming,

capillaries at fingertips lose their color.

When the waiting sleep, it is in waiting.

When given refuge, it is in waiting.

Children make finger guns amongst

each other, emulate officers

in black and blue who refuse

to come and get them.

Like cell walls,

New Orleans is permeable.

Cells walls protect

organelles of the cell

but sometimes water gets through

and when it does the ark is flooded

and the animals run loose

or fields are flooded and

people start to drown

having waited atop rooftops

black arms raising in the air

waiting for someone, anyone,

to come and stop by

so the children keep playing

making finger guns but

the men in black and blue

the men with guns and power

they don’t come

so the blood continues to run.

Maya Richard-Craven is an American journalist and poet, who has opened for California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia (2013), and has spoken before the USC Board of Trustees (2015). Her work has appeared in New York Daily News, The Daily Beast, USA TODAY College, and The Hollywood Reporter. In 2014, Richard-Craven was named best college columnist by The National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

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