Everywhere else it’s just Tuesday—but where I’m from
people are dancing, people are high-stepping in the streets
because where I’m from parading is a sacrament
and Mardi Gras our high holy day. More krewes
than you can shake a drumstick at, parades go on for weeks
men and women with their hands up, children
on their parents’ shoulders to extend their reach.
Where I’m from people mix: black and white,
purple green and gold-

en streets: in heaven as it is on earth, trumpet music
raining down on this day of jubilation sans remorse,
remorse is for tomorrow, tomorrow we’ll wear ashes
and dark colored clothes—today we’re dressed in sequins
if we are dressed at all: bare-chested flambeau men glow
like angels, strutting and sweating and lighting the way
for the rest of us who huddle hip to hip to hand
beneath the overpass where the music’s loudest,
the darkness thick and sweet

like the women where I’m from, women whose
bodies move with practiced purpose: to feel joy
running over us like rain, the bass drum kicking
hard into our hearts—we feel you looking and we
don’t mind, our legs and backsides keeping time—
we are the finest things you’ve ever seen, everyone is
beautiful on Mardi Gras day, so throw me something
mister, open up your hand like God and give
those fancy beads to me. Where I’m from even the trees
wear jewelry, we trample it beneath our feet
the gutters clog with glittery things, even our trash

is pretty, because where I’m from everyone
is a little drunk, a little stoned—we take our vices seriously,
as serious as we take the saints, as serious as you
take your paleo diet, your raw organic sugar free—here:
this is king cake, try it—grind that sugar with your teeth
feel it go into your blood, feel your blood do a little get-down
boogie in your veins—this is our body, broken
for you, you poor saps who never second-lined
who never drank a Coors for breakfast, you poor
fools at work today because everywhere else
it’s just Tuesday, and you won’t change your mind.

March 5, 2019, Mardi Gras Day