Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 02/25/20

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CARNIVAL

Riding the 3:16 I arrive before sunrise
Even in early morn animal air sticks to my skin
I violently push the door jamb and the soul-shattering screech
awakens sleeping doves who flutter away before first light

A cracked Madonna painting hangs crooked behind the counter
A big Creole woman in a multi-colored dress
wears a feathered fedora, blows cigar smoke in my face
“Yes, Papa, you are home now, home, for the carnival.”

I mumble and take my room key like a fugitive on the run
there are hex sign protections graffitied on the walls
Goat horns and pentagrams and what I think is dried blood
“The carnival, Papa, it all begins with you.”

The Creole woman’s laughter chases me to my den
I unlock my door and again push too hard
This time the protest is silenced by new sound
distant drums, ancient song, the scattering of bones

I think of her as I walk onto the wrought iron deck
I peer through the dawn and see gator prints in the mud
I expect a scoundrel with a sack full of antebellum loot
to skip across the courtyard and gift me a wink

I think of her as I step from the balcony to my room
I know she would’ve saved me or I would’ve destroyed her
Neither option was viable
No potion can heal me now

Cathedral bells toll far away like hymns through a fog
I remember someone saying something somewhere sometime
about the ringing of the bells being the only clean thing left
I pour a double bourbon neat and hear my Creole cackle again

“The carnival, Papa, it all begins with you.”

©2020 William Teets All rights reserved.

MrT

William Teets is an author and poet born in Peekskill, New York, who has recently relocated to Waterford, Michigan. He immensely misses New York pizza, the Hudson River, and his beloved Mets. He will write. He will survive. Mr. Teets’ works have been published in Chronogram, The Deadly Writers Patrol, Cajun Mutt Press, Art and Life, as well as in numerous anthologies. He has also published a novel, Reverend Went Walking, and a memoir, Upside Down (One on the House).

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