Morning Of The Duel
Eliza Park, New Orleans, 1838 I unlace my shift, stand at the basin, breasts cold against the porcelain bowl. My hands are numb, my breath makes ghosts in the room. I loosen my braids, lift a brush to my crown, release the musk of my hair, its flame and its weight warming my shoulders. Dawn is slick with horses, acrid smoke, the smelly canals. Even tall closed windows cannot shut the proud world out. Now they are counting, stepping away before they turn.