Mint-garnished tumblers sweat
into our palms, and the quinine prickle of gin and tonic
cuts the thick waft of magnolia petals threaded
through a copper and steel twilight. Tires
slap the road, and the velvet-gravel voice
that floods Bourbon Street can’t be Louis Armstrong.
Mother said she met him in the ’50s, but then,
she said so many things. Smoke bruises my cheek,
and I can see the girl’s face in her cigarette’s
ember, young and too nonchalant for the night.
Laura K. McRae is a teacher in Toronto, Ontario, where she lives and writes. Her poems have appeared in numerous Canadian and US journals, including The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and Tar River Poetry.