an epilogue . . .
She died. Juan was off in California,
where his uncle had come long ago
to invite him to visit New Orleans.
He had no idea he would meet Adore,
a ju-ju hoodoo lady’s only child,
blessed or cursed, she had no idea
what she thought of not having a father.
She never said. And why would she?
She lived the only way she wanted to.
Juan told her story in HOTEL HOTEL,
then moved away, leaving his brother
to do what he wished about their mama’s
body uprooted in the flood and gone
for good or ill. Juan didn’t come home,
though he thought of New Orleans as his
only home now that he went by Johnny
Flowers, no more Juan Flores. He made
his peace in looking for Betty’s rapists
with no result. He lived with her now.
Sausalito was a good enough village
for someone who didn’t want to do
what he should. He thought of marrying
Betty, still in the grip of guilt, he knew,
for losing her that night. She asked him
to marry. He was thinking it over,
he knew he didn’t want to, that was all.
He learned from Adore how she could see
what no one else but her and the old man
she looked on as her voodoo daddy
knew how to do. It was what Juan knew
as well as learning how to love women
from Adore who let him learn with her
after his uncle died. He read Rousseau’s
Confessions living in Betty’s house high
above the town. He still saw Patty Cakes
at the Trident, but spent much more time
with his mama’s old pal, Sally Stanford,
who reminded him of his mother.
He missed his mama’s brothel, so passed
much–too much?–time in Sally’s Valhalla.
(17 April 2013: II)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander