On St. Claude Avenue, stepping out into the day’s wet gust of heat, I am greeted by a chorus of hammers: the old open-air market, nearly collapsed from years of neglect, is getting new bones, and the coffee shop across the street is flocked with U-locked bicycles. Living in New Orleans, I feel sometimes like the woman who invited the ghost of her grandfather to come and visit. Lying in bed, restless and bored, she wanted someone to tousle her curtains, to speak in code, to stand in the corner juggling or tinkering with a jack-knife. What she didn’t realize is that he’d bring friends. As soon as she drifted off to sleep the room filled with a veritable parade, each passing face like a glowing mountain range, and through it all her grandfather stood stock-still grinning: proud, somehow, of her fear.

Cassie Pruyn is a New Orleans-based poet born and raised in Portland, Maine. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her poems and reviews can be found in AGNI Online, ENTROPY, and The Double Dealer, with work forthcoming from The Normal School and 32 Poems. She was a finalist in the 2013 and 2014 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and a finalist in the 2013 Indiana Review 1/2K Prize.