A January Encounter with St. Louis
By Don Iannone
Beloved river city,
nestled on the west bank
of the mighty Mississippi,
that magically snakes through you,
and connects you to other river cities.
Your roots grow deeper by the day,
while your future arches its back
like an awakening calico,
warming herself in the afternoon sun.
You've seen many dark nights,
when the moon fails to glow,
yet starlight continues to grace your soul.
Lazy snowflakes flirt with the biting westward wind...
a wind you know so well
on this late January afternoon.
You toy with me in word and image,
daring me to grasp you about the waist
and dance on tiptoes with you
into the westward-leaning sun.
South of you at Cairo,
the industrious Ohio joins your Mississippi.
At your right elbow, ancient Cahokia's 20,000 souls
have restlessly slept now for more than 600 years.
Farther south, midway to Memphis,
nobody wants to talk about New Madrid,
where the earth shakes off excess energy
on a regular basis, and where in 1811
the Mississippi reversed her flow...
a feat not since accomplished,
nor even wished.
You are a city of poets and writers,
entrepreneurs, athletes, actors and scientists.
A city prone to division at times,
but once again learning to come together
about what means most in life.
You are a city mattering to so many,
even those begrudging the redbird his special feast
on tiger last October 27th.
My simple wish for you, Oh St. Louis,
is happiness sparing none,
and may you, in your unfolding urbane glory,
never cease to amaze.