AT THE LOOM WORKS
~in the Vieux Carre, New Orleans~
Yesterday I stood up to the scrutiny of strangers,
my child in my arms, his eyes watching theirs.
Do sit down, they murmured from
The sun danced on the patterned rugs
I watched it shimmer and wave
A scranky cat slinked along the floorboards
another slept on a rug-thrown bench.
Courtesy grew to common ground,
my child on the floor stroking the cat;
scared, she fled behind the wooden swing,
its rug-fringes dangling like fabric chimes.
I stepped on the edge of friendliness,
they closed their lips,
I claimed to understand,
I felt that way sometimes.
A shadow creaked across the floor,
I slipped it on, my unfamiliarity
wrapping me like a windbreaker.