New Orleans Lullaby
by BRAD RICHARD
Hush, everybody, stop all your crying,
you’ll wake the bullet that wants my baby.
Go to sleep, everybody, and when you wake
you’ll have a circus with swans for horses.
In a vacant lot in New Orleans East
lies a bullet-ridden girl, still breathing.
Gnats and dragonflies veiling her eyes,
she whispers to the weeds for her sweetheart.
Her sweetheart’s body is cooling in the morgue,
a bullet in his head instead of dreams.
When that bullet grows up, it wants to fly
like the heart of a horse in the circus.
Hush, people, I’m tired of all your crying,
you’ll wake the bullet that wants my city.
Go to sleep, people, and when you wake
you’ll have a circus of murdered swans.