The dead don’t stay buried in New Orleans, so I took you on the ghost tour with me. I saw you skewered on a spike, choking blood onto the sidewalk. You were trying to jump from the balcony of a girl you saw in secret. She watched you die. It made me smile.
The next day you liked her photo on Instagram, which meant something to me now that I knew she meant something to you. I posted a photo, too, from a boat on the bayou. If you had liked it, I would have been beautiful. The wind and the water helped me forget you, but the gators helped me remember.
The artists made me sad. They worked because they had to. It had long ceased to be a want. The music and words poured from them, haphazard and scrambled. They pushed out their art for their own safety, so that they wouldn’t be consumed.
I saw myself in them, but not in the horns, in the dances, in the joy, in the passion. I saw myself in unwashed hair and dirty rucksacks and stray dogs and a fight for survival. I was in New Orleans, and I was consumed with you, and I was drunk on the Hurricanes swirling inside me, and I was ugly.
Aly Bloom lives in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in English. This is her first published work.