Dear Louisville

Dear Louisville, when I showed up your Ohio was so wide and roiling
a barge had to come out and dislodge a whole oak stuck in the channel
roots up. There wasn’t a wisp of breeze downtown save when a stray cell
thundered into the city, on the night I arrived – our first hello – and blew
hard rain sideways. I watched it from inside the dark bar. Dear Louisville,
I cannot thank you enough for what you brought me: more barrels of bourbon
than there are people in the state, but people too whose love likewise makes
my head swim. The long, sheened necks of horses, the purses won by others
whose windfalls I don’t envy, my own being infinitely more dear. Dear Louisville,
you birthed a fighter. You claim him now, as he claimed you. Your Daisy descended
the steps of the Seelbach lobby without a quiver, to marry the richer man. I sat
in a leather chair and saw her go down. I visited her house: the deep white porch
that nourished her mystique for all those years. These days your brand
new bridge exacts a toll, but you may prefer it that way: another deterrent
to Indianans crossing the river’s broad expanse into you. Dear Louisville,
I didn’t know what benedictine was, nor burgoo, but now, I joy to say, I do.
I do. Dear Louisville, I hashtagged you once and landed a dear friend.
Some evenings I squinted in your blazing sunshine. In the rickhouse
I breathed the angel’s share, half drunk before my first sip. It had aged a long
time, that heady brew. One spring I ran your streets in the rain, talking and kissing.
On the home stretch, I stuck out my own pale neck and galloped, steam from
my nostrils, Louisville, my eyes trained fast on your tape, till I crossed over at last

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