The sugarcane burned in the fields and pleased you.
I said, “Caramel, c’est tout,” to please you.
My sweat and your sweat: simple syrup.
The men with long knives made the sound of wind.
The small animals scattered or else were caught.
With Mason jars of mint julep, we lay on the floor.
We’d been to Evangeline and Evangeline Downs
and picnicked on gumbo in the bough of the live oak.
On the raised gravestones, we’d taken our rubbings:
Thibodeaux, Boudreaux, Comeaux on rice paper.
We switched to rocks when the mint ran out.
You faced the pine as if you were reading it.
The bourbon went back and forth between us.
It tried to translate and then it fell silent.
Burnt sugar, cayenne, the air thick with water.
The bodies of crawfish lined up like toy soldiers.
What we would do we had done already, and you said,
“Touch my neck with your cold glass,”
just as I raised that cold dark glass to your neck.
Shannon Holman, New York, 2001