Gail White

The Beautiful Girl

It was fun for a while to know
She could have any boy she liked,
That the other girls were helpless
In the face of the hot spiked
Punch of her violet eyes,
That innocent look of sin.
And then it was fun for a while
To know she could take them in,
That a man could fall so hard
That he’d let her wear the writing
Off of his MasterCard,
That he’d fall for any story
Her honey-lined lips could tell,
Hand over all his money
And the condo lease as well.
Finally there was a man
Who got his mind on track,
Wanted to get his bank account
And his engagement ring back,
So she called an old boyfriend
Who watched the house with a gun
And the story ended badly.
The sequel wasn’t fun.

Revisiting New Orleans

My old house needs new paint, but what the hell,
it survived Katrina, didn’t it? Nobody died,
did they? I call that doing pretty well.
This is a city where we all take pride

in our corruption. And for seventeen
years I was part of it. To love the place
you should be young and poor. I made the scene
when Preservation Hall, the finest space

for jazz, cost just two dollars at the door.
I moved away for money. Now I know
that was a vile excuse. I’m looking for
the joie de vivre I had when I was so

poor I could live on rice and red beans, heat
the back rooms with the oven, and so young
I thought love might sashay up Royal Street
with all the gold the Krewe of Bacchus flung.

But no, I’m not that person anymore.
I’m just a tourist in a tourist’s town.
No longer young, free-spirited, and poor,
I buy a Sazerac and drink it down.

Ballade of Vanishing Species

The Yangtze finless porpoise knows
Its future isn’t much at all.
The gray whale softly floats and blows
and sings of its impending fall.
The bonobo is meek and small,
But like its fellow chimpanzees
Its chances are too close to call.
And where now are the honeybees?

The mountain plover may in vain
Beat threatened wings against the air.
The bison on the western plain
Is vulnerable now and rare.
Endangered too the polar bear
Whose isles of ice no longer freeze,
Vacant the Arctic vixen’s lair,
And where now are the honeybees?

Pacific Salmon (future lox)
Leap high; the poison dart frog hides
Beneath the once-protective rocks
That cannot save the white seal’s hides.
The narwhal bends its horn and glides
With dolphins through the damaged seas.
Will nothing turn the dugong’s tides?
And where now are the honeybees?

Our life’s no more than to say “One.”
Our fellows fall by twos and threes
Like dew before the morning sun.
And where now are the honeybees?

***

Gail White is a Formalist poet whose work appears regularly in such journals as Measure, Raintown Review, Rotary Dial, and First Things. She is a contributing editor to Light (www.lightpoetrymagazine.com). Her most recent collections are Asperity Street and Catechism (both on Amazon). She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, with her husband and cats.

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