Two Poems by Troy Urquhart


I lived for a short while in New Orleans, and there’s a bit of the city that’s always stayed with me: something of the rhythms of life there and a sense of magic and wonder and escape–some might say it has something to do with voodoo, perhaps, but for me, it’s always been a feeling of possibility. That was nearly thirty years ago, but the city has continued to offer that experience to me, even during a year when a long weekend in the French Quarter has been a pandemic impossibility. I wrote the first draft of these poems fifteen years ago during one of those visits, and even though I now know the future that followed these moments, they still hold open a door for me of what might be, what could be.

Seeing Louis Armstrong Park late last Tuesday.

we’re laughing hand-holding walking up

     St. Ann, curb-balancing

& dodging sidewalk holes & hold-

     ing tight to keep from falling

& it’s the first, you say, the on-

     ly time you’ve seen in any

of these nights we’ve spent roaming

     this dark unlonely city

the hotel around the corner calls

     but we stop / transfixed

by the distant lighted archway

     a white rainbow against

     a silhouette of oaks

Vieux Carre magic.

we walk across bending pavement

through the Vieux Carre

& you turn to me & say

that we should make our home here

because this place changes me somehow

& I smile because I know

but I wonder if the Cajun voodoo magic

of this place would be the same

or if there’s magic in distance

voodoo in separation & detachment

from the responsibilities of every day

that we call home

is the spell of this place

the magic of unhome

or the magic of a home that isn’t?

& I wonder if tables were turned

would the magic be a sunny beachside getaway

where we would leave these broken

streets these broken street vendors

these broken bottles that crunch beneath

our feet & flee the Vieux Carre

Troy Urquhart is the editor of Willows Wept Review and the author of Springtime Sea Bathing (Greying Ghost Press, 2010). His work has appeared in publications including PANK, The Inflectionist Review, Dodging the Rain, Twentieth-Century Literature, Mud Luscious, and English Journal. Find him online at

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