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Land lights: New Orleans.

A child, I rode the air into town, land lights far below, prickling the bend in a river, each homefront ablaze with all there would be to remember--

there lay my city of plaster saints, reddening in votive lights, their arms held up to nighttime glut and its aftermath of penance. A landscape flickered where there'd be so much more than Jesus and the weather to feel downright low about. Or happy for, barometric pressure working its swings into the heart: midnight atwirl with street flutes, feet tapping for silver coin; morning rains sheeting the river bars, the outdoor markets slung with garlic chains, a hex to cast out any devils, while hail-Mary- full-of-grace rose through the drizzle, sister-song of a fickle city.

But I was four and coasting down from the sky, landing on what I thought was a flat, new world of companions. I could not see my place set alone among those lights--that city,

my history of sundowns, those sulky twilight vigils.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Soniat, Katherine
Publication:Chicago Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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