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.