Red Beans and Rice

By James Sprouse

Featured Art: ‘Modes et Manières de Torquat

The medium said you were not coming back.
So I ate my red beans and rice
same as on our wedding day
down in Algiers, Louisiana.

The next day you rode
off with the Russian, Porshenokov,
in a little MG, your long straw hair
whipping in the streets

in the wind of the French Quarter
and down on the bayous, where it’s
too hot to sleep. The cemetery on Ramparts
was a forest of stone, the dead

above ground. On account of
the hurricanes, they said, and high water
on the Mississippi that stirs underneath
and raises them up.

That time you came back,
in heat, in sweat, with cotton-mouth
and juju. The South was our
time to be hot.

Next day you shipped out
lithe as a dolphin
rolling and tumbling down to the delta
on whiskey and water we called our lives.

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me . . .
on Lake Pontchartrain, in the boat
of our nights, your prodigal smile
alive with fabulous poison.

MFA Stonecoast, 2004. James Sprouse’s work has appeared in Solstice, online; Puckerbrush Review; New Delta Review; New Ohio Review (as J. Spru), as well as twice Fiction/Flash Fiction Finalist in Glimmer Train and in New Millennium Writings. James Sprouse lives on the Coast of Maine. He has been a blue-collar worker and a health care provider for most of his life.

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