Clyde Tressler

The Bribe

Your great green lawn runs down to the Bayou Teche
where the wispy cypress wash their knees.
The water whispers its brown message
sucked up from the mud in the great swamp of the Atchafalaya.
Logs, tires, secrets sweep down to the Mississippi
and snicker by New Orleans with a force
that could roll a locomotive
end over end.

Half way down
where the lawn was squeezed to yard
by the drunken hand of a dead boundary marker,
the neighbor's small summer cabin sits hard by the line
under the wrestler-armed boughs of a live oak.
The porch slants with rot
and color couldn't say its name
anywhere on the clapboard walls.

It is where I will stay
for your fortieth birthday party.
And while the pig is turning on the spit
and the smoke drifts across the sweet olive bushes
to whirl in the slow vortex of the ceiling fan over my bed
and the crawfish are tossed in red pepper cascades
across the newsprint faces of The Daily Iberian
and the Zydeco music makes the strings of lights dance in the crowd of eyes,
I will take your bribe of a wiggly woman
because I like wiggly women
and because I know
I cannot tell
your secret
even to the bayou.


The 2River View, 4.3 (Spring 2000)