Hey, Louisiana

She hangs the blankets with 

shame, remembering

that she’s already seen them, linens

stained with a light sweat and papaya 

under your fairy hands and the pillowcases. 

She remembers how young you looked there, in

the wet center of Louisiana country, 

hair sticking to her own forehead as hot mist 

fell onto your shoulders in sheets and 

collected in the tidal pools of your clavicles. 

She will remember how she couldn’t 

 

touch you. Your chest, always clothed 

in that silky, Austin fabric, the slit 

between two forbidden oddities 

tempting the godless heat. She could 

never remove her own with your 

delicious confidence, could never share 

in the bluebell song 

that you heard 

when you exposed yourself to

the muggy air of the lake house. 

Yellowed cotton bit at her skin with 

its firmness, drenched and dried

in her own, salted moisture 

from watching you. She was always 

 

watching you. On the school bus past rows 

of Genevieve slum houses, when the boys 

teased your dresses and your name, when 

even she spoke once out of turn, her own 

insecurity sparked at the sight of the 

enticing, liquid space peeking out 

of the gap between t-shirts and overalls, or

how it felt when your sweater brushed hers if 

it ever hit fifty degrees. 

Come and play with me, she would scream, 

for you understand what

it means to wear 

yellow button ups with

cuffed sleeves to catch 

the sunlight and save 

it to warm the wearer through 

the clouded depths of

winter in Louisiana. Hold 

 

Me. She shouts this now through the fabric, 

as she did when she let a man punish her

last night, looking to forget women and 

throw her skin in the surgical bin, a sign

of the purity she had tarnished 

by existing. He 

didn’t take her in his arms, rock 

her gently like you and the bus every Thursday 

on Cherry Lane. His being was rotten,

 

she’s cleaning the sheets. See her 

sacrifice, see her euphemisms, let 

her ask you, through the haze of mosquitoes 

that encircled your disgusting bodies before 

there were consequences, on the basis 

of all things holy and unholy, Louisiana

will you reach your own hand, the way 

that she couldn’t, and say that her imagination 

has not bested her? Her patience 

 

is fleeting, papaya rims the air, the same 

rough blankets flap lazily in the breeze.  

Did she hear the bluebell song? You left 

an imprint 

on those rags, sometimes 

she imagines this 

for herself. 

What are you looking for?