Louisiana, home of a thousand Family Dollar stores
and cotton farms planted with corn for ethanol
I think of you as I return to Oakland,
report for jury duty with hundreds
of others wating to be screened for weapons,
swiping smart phones as if they could save us.
Louisiana, camouflaged in brown leaves
on a breast pocket of lottery tickets and cigarettes.
Another weekend I drive across the Bay Bridge,
pass a coral reef that covers the hills of San Francisco
in window panes of white waves,
I’m lost in a place between two places
where fresh produce arrives from Walmart
and everyone is a po’boy at the gas station.
Louisiana, my hand shimmers in your bayou,
in the Ouachita River where grandmothers
tell stories from mounds of earth,
a bay and a cypress
and the word hosanna,
how they grew apart in a well of water.
Louisiana, we live in two places.