I bird-dog my way down to northern Louisiana, following a lead on a story near my grandfather’s old stomping grounds. Four miles from Black Bayou, I roll the windows down, and I smell the humidity, the cypress sap, the sweet mud. There is Bartholomew Lake, just to the east. In the bones of an ancient cypress, anhinga perch. Spanish moss beards the limbs of the living trees. A truck runs too close to the shoulder of the highway, and I hear the duh-dum duh-dum of the “waker-uppers.” I am seven again, riding shotgun in my grandfather’s green chevy, feet dangling from the bench seat. I am holding a box of hot cinnamon rolls while my grandfather passes down his mastery of colorful language and his knowledge of the shape of a woman. My ears and cheeks redden.
This world is a wardrobe to another time and place. Wonder lives there.
I cannot stop my car from careening into the Black Bayou entrance. I am pulled to the mud, to my kin, to the ghosts. On the banks, I stare into the water and see myself again. Now, with unveiled eyes.
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