Once There Was (for my father on his 90th birthday) by Marie Chambers Delchamps is no more vacuumed off the city map by the mile-wide aisles of Merchant’s Bank the one that ate Regent’s Bank after Katrina swept down Government Boulevard tore the arms off the big oaks twisted the Spanish moss into knotty pigtails ragamuffin gutters now no more the tree-lined boulevard no more azaleas nor short sleeves and sweet pies over to the Malbis bakery with marble countertops sticky as wet tar there were ship shapers and airfields boilermakers and barracks the Mardi Gras named itself here moon pies flew from off the front porch grey and gold cadets stepped stylish danced cattywompus and backwards before prancing straight ahead passing side yards pocked with baby blanket blue hydrangeas plump with sun no accidental gardens here work skirts belled then belted oysters arrived by the barrel you could listen to the songs sung at a Sunday dinner across the causeway once
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Marie Chambers is a Los Angeles-based writer, art advisor and business consultant. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College and most recently was a finalist for the Lascaux Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in The LA Review of Books. The Atlanta Review, Talking Writing, The Quotable, Ilanot Review, Printer’s Devil Review, Ironhorse Literary Review, the Lascaux Review and The Writer. She was a winner of ARTlines2 Ekphrasic Poetry Contest judged by Robert Pinsky. Her writing has also been published in numerous art catalogues and her collaboration with Paris-based visual artist Daniela Bershon was featured in the online magazine “7 x 7.”