Pat O'Brien's is closed
and it's late
even in the Big Easy -
the one we all knew once,
or imagined.

We're down by Jackson Square,
finally away from the beads
and beer stands -
the kids with coffee can lids
nailed to their sneakers
shuffling a few
shucking each other,
then at it again,
too young to have talent.

We all want to be the Fool
stepping out lightly from the cards,
she says,
leaving behind the Devil
and the Hierophant.
And the Eight of Wands too,
she adds, after a while.

The other tarot readers
folded their decks
and chairs hours ago.
The guy with the mythically
golden boa wrapped around his neck
and his girlfriend with the pointy pink hair -
are nowhere to be seen.

She smokes a clove cigarette
and resting one loose arm
on the wrought iron fence.
I sit on the curb, spent.
Neither one of us is sure
why we're still here
as the street sweeper whirs
and clatters by,
yellow lights flashing

- Marc Bonica