Crescent City

By MAURICE EMERSON DECAUL

For Lauren Cerand

In my room overlooking
the Mississippi a voice tells me: in my city we bury
our dead above ground a voice whispers
not to lean against
windows not to pry open the window

I half expect to see a phantom
A voice in my head has been saying
the building you’re looking at
was once a slave market

I don’t know if this is true
but she says it
again softly

I am transfixed by four crosses
on the façade a southern
Golgotha Mississippi serene
& swift prepares for drowning season

I may never leave this place
whether it will pull me
back whether it will pull me
deeper whether I even
want to resist

only the kudzu creeping from roof to window
to roof has fidelity with self
has a knowing
will overwhelm this city

Maurice Emerson Decaul is a poet, essayist, and librettist. He is a graduate of Columbia University and New York University. He is working towards his MFA at Brown University.

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Crescent City

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