MAY TWELFTH

After the muggers don't kill me I go to the all-night diner
and order eggs. I order chocolate chip pancakes. I order

sausage and bacon and beer because eating and drinking
is what alive-people do. There's no ordinary time 

in New Orleans, it's always some high holy day. Someone's
always dancing wearing crimson velvet screaming in the streets

some dark Vapor's always seething in the storm drains
and someone is always eating pancakes in wonderment, alive

to the flour and sugar and grease, amazed by the cracked vinyl
seat: this banquette is a pew, the hiss of the griddle an endless

sigh of relief—and tonight it's me. The other diners' faces 
placid as plaster saints, oblivious to the first supper

of my second life. I tell the waitress thinking maybe she will
cross herself or drop down on her knees, high priestess of the plate

I've cleaned—but she doesn't even raise an eyebrow as she slips
the bill beneath my bottle and says welcome to New Orleans.