Halloween in New Orleans
Crippled oaks hunch beneath a yellow moon
and hover over crumbling crypts
in Lafayette Cemetery
where F. Scott Fitzgerald’s eyes gaze
beyond paradise from a window’s wavy glass
on a second floor across Prytania.
Empty streetcars rumble down Saint Charles
where widowed ghosts wander in mansions
behind the dark windows of forgotten rooms.
The oaks in Audubon Park scratch
at their fern-covered limbs as alligators crawl
from ponds after sleeping for eons,
buried in the bottom muck.
Giant channel cats bask belly-up
in moonshine along the lower estuaries.
The blaring laughter of costumed fools
bounces between the fragile bricks
of French Quarter buildings
while balconies sag and bend above Bourbon.
Blood-red daiquiris glow frozen in vampire hands.
A band of mournful skeletons marches
to the melancholy of “Saint James Infirmary,”
their tuba, clarinet, trumpet and trombone
tarnished from a century’s funeral fog.
In the shop windows of candy stores
unsold pralines lie embedded with flies.
As the howling in the streets subsides,
cracked levees crumble across the crescent
and black liquid thick as blood rises up the walls.
James Robinson’s recent work has appeared in Xavier Review, Maple Leaf Rag (IV and V), Texas Review, Rio Grande Review, BorderSenses, and others. He has released two chapbooks: The Caterpillars at Saint Bernard (Mule on a Ferris Wheel Press) and Boca del Rio in the Afternoon (Finishing Line Press).