You probably shouldn’t be out here with me, sitting
by the river. But you want to feel unfettered,
don’t you? Far from the panopticon as possible?
I don’t blame you. Besides, there are other people
in the park, too, dogs and frisbees, the yellow
air drifting off the water. And look— a couple kissing.
You know, I didn’t realize the Mississippi
was such a big waterway. It looks like
the still-abandoned skyscrapers of the city
could fall into its jaws at any minute.
And there— past the steamboats crying
their maniacal calliope (a strained version of
Louisiana Fairytale), past the riverwalk, and
the empty mall— a huge cruise ship looms.
A thousand glass windows shimmering
shades of pallor, as if patched with the last batch
of surgical masks. A floating infirmary
with no sanitation or nurses, only crazed patients
unable to disembark for Disneyland. Just sitting
there— still as a sleeping shark
or the Hard Rock Hotel
moments before it collapses.