Yvette finishes her day waiting tables at the diner, does a quick wash-up in the employees only sink before heading off to her second job at the piece of shit motel-- no families stay here, just down-on-their-luck boys running from brutal fathers and parole officers. Yvette feels sorry for them in some sad way, checks to make sure there ain’t no needles or spoons in the parking and no one was murdered. She ain’t gonna work here forever but they’re suckers for a forgiving face and she wears hers like mercy. Her memory goes back a long way. She takes care to fold the towels nice.
Down the levee road the natural silence of the bayou pierced by heckles of gathered birds. They’re strung out on the lines from dump to dump, the houses barely standing. A few suspendered men, beers in ham-hocked fists, are visible in Roscoe’s Bait and Tackle. The door opens and closes constantly for worms and air conditioning. Dancers from Bayou Strip down Cutoff Road do a quick calculation, slink in to grab a daiquiri slush before their shifts, bum a smoke, hit up the least gamey guys for a lap dance later, the rent’s coming due and hootchie bras don’t come cheap.
Ancient fishing boats, paint curled and crackled so thin, it’s hard not to grab and pull a strip off, but the boats don’t put up for painting till after the season. Some do double duty in the glory of late afternoons ferrying locals to a crab joint out at the pier-- reachable by a road old as God himself, easier by water, slipping soft as a whisper up to the dock. Ice cold Dixies and bubbling butter, the pilings strung with small white bulbs, it feels like Christmas. Every Friday night at the edge of the Delta, Zydeco gets the feet tapping, accordions too. After a nightfall too dark for whispers, Captains ferry everyone back to where they belong. Weather follows them home like a wily fox, their wise and forgiving hearts traveling light.
Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her chapbookDown Anstruther Way (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where is recently out from Kelsay Books. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).