South Louisiana

Salt hangs. Mom, Aunt Nette, and I at to the old house. Sitting on the porch, they reminisce about the smell of seafood and the always too big never too spicy meals. They laugh about being poor yet eating so well.

I snap a few pictures. Forever dirt spot where Paw-Paw's barn stood. Clothesline. Little pond Maw-Maw tended. Trace of gardens. Unlocked side door to the kitchen. Front door only strangers used. Trunks of the tree that, as kids, my cousins and I dug a trench around, filled with water, and crafted little ships from household detritus to play Cajun pirates.

Hurricane took the trees. One fell on the house, collapsed the roof above where Maw-Maw had watched us, cooking dinner.

Aunt Nette pushes the side door open. She says I can go in, the bees working through a hole outside haven’t made it through. She says the company, house’s sole and lifetime owner, patched the roof but you can see the old tongue-and-groove construction where the ceiling sinks above the stove.

I don’t go in.