Experts say you shouldn’t be out here with me
sitting by the river. But I get you. You want to feel
free—as far from the panopticon as possible.
I don’t blame you. Besides,
there are so many other people in the park with us—
frisbees, dogs, barbeques—and look at that
cute couple kissing. You know,
I never realized the Mississippi was this big.
It looks like it could rise to meet us
at any minute. And look over there—past the steamboat
crying its maniacal calliope, past the Riverwalk
(the big empty mall once
plowed through by the Bright Field barge)
look at that huge cruise ship—looming.
Look at the water surrounding it, brown
and befouled like the Gulf of Mexico.
Look at its glass windows glinting with people
trapped inside, like a body pimpled with smallpox.
Look at its antenna—like the cancerous phalluses
of the oil refineries standing at attention.
A floating infirmary devoid of doctors, nurses, PPE.
Look at it—just sitting there—insidious, still as the eyes
of Betsy, Katrina, quiet as the Hard Rock
Hotel—sneaky as me.