Tricky, tricky

jug full of city

spilt. I’ve abandoned

your brand

of patience, haven’t a care

what’s mirage

or what’s oasis.

I bloat with hydration,

sober for the season,

for the march song repeated

till the horns

distort to moans.

Trodden bead asterisms

breed brief romance

till they go verdigris

with the street grease

at a finite hour,

like the gown back to rags.

What deal was made

and with what fairy godmother,

her billows dragging

trails of golden ants?

I raise an empty glass

to isolation, to feeling

better-than, to the war

of waste underwritten

by the sympathy

of the bourgeoisie,

to the maternal care

the drunk girl

gives to the drunker

who’s not dressed

for the weather,

who falters

in the fiberglass mist,

to the caviling rain that spares

my skin and hair,

to Lent’s plum shadow,

to money made, to the costumed

clown pastry with its Christ-child


Shrill cries fester skywards.

Remember to thank

the moon,

who receives them naturally

as wolf bays, naked and cool,

as if after a bath.

Howl until you’re hollow.

I’ll whisper in the medicine,

take you to mass tomorrow,

where, since it’s Carnival,

all gluttony is forgiven,

and you can teach your body

to sleep again.


Caroline Rowe

Caroline Rowe (née Zimmer) is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including The Raw Art Review, Harbinger Asylum, Cathexis Northwest, and The Jabberwock Review, where she was nominated for the Nancy D. Hargrove Editor’s Prize. She has also been anthologized in The Maple Leaf Rag (Portals Press). Her debut chapbook, God’s Favorite Redhead, is forthcoming from Lucky Bean Press. She is a lifelong resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans.

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