For those who never let go, who do not give up.
When your limbs ache, you have an unusual pain lingering in your lower back and your chest throbs. This is the lure of vos ancêtres, their tombs singing and the newly packed earth near the family mausoleum hums in response to the song. The landscape is littered with above ground graves lit by light from the refineries.
Río del Espíritu Santo. “The Mississippi River pulls America together. It is the outlet to the world for the America that lies between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. It is central to Louisiana’s way of life 1.” At night, you watch your skies burn. You hear the billowing voice of the many who passed at the River of the Immaculate Conception’s hands, 6 feet of water in the streets of Evangeline 2.
When it gets cold, we make gumbo. We argue over the inclusion of tomatoes. LaFleur’s and Braud’s et plus in our kitchen, with opinions. A roux with margarine – no, with vegetable oil – is there filé? As the stove simmers, the crackle on cast iron is a chanson. The further North we go, I am convinced that this is the glue which binds us into ourselves.
1. Richard, C. E., et al. Louisiana: an Illustrated History. Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting, 2003.
2. Newman, Randy. “Louisiana 1927.” Good Old Boys, Reprise Records, 1974, track 6. Genius, https://genius.com/Randy-newman-louisiana-1927-lyrics.
Emily McCollister Goldsmith is a poet from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is currently a first-year MFA candidate at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Her work has appeared in The Birds We Piled Loosely, YesPoetry, and Witch Craft Magazine.