Walt Whitman in New Orleans

Adam Peltz

The phoebe-birds, out-of-place

swing on their hanging-balsam feeders

like small pendulums, the season passing

into longer shadows with soft, glistening edges.

 

Stealing away behind the workshed, not among

the tall-blonde calamus but the wide-green

stag ferns, another silhouette joins his,

a day-laborer shaded from the oppressive forenoon.

 

Above their dark figures, the stale river pulsates

over the quick gasps and final, unified yawp.

Beyond the shoreline’s rounded bend

the fishermen pull from the murk their redfish catches.

 

Later, re-dressing, joyous beneath a live oak,

with bruised knees and elbows not wounded but contused

electric and the Spanish-moss strands

collecting in dusk’s pink song, he moves

 

shackle-less in his slumber along the bustle of wharves

to his room near the broad, pocked street,

those first few lines, those barbaric hours spent,

the caracara streaking-by for an unseen, distant point.

 

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About the Work

Adam Peltz

Adam Peltz was born in Queens and raised on Long Island, with disreputable (in his mind) stints in Jersey, Michigan, California, Arizona, New York City, western Massachusetts, and Vermont. Currently, he serves as a Student Coordinator at LSU – Health Sciences Center.  His creative work appears in publications that have included South Carolina Review, The Kerf, Sendero, Literary Magazine Review, NOLAFugees.com, and the collection Year Zero: A Year of Reporting from Post-Katrina New Orleans (NOLAFugees). Adam lives with his wife Ashley and their cat Baby in New Orleans.

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