Napo 10: Magnolia Street

Today's prompt was to write about a place's geography and its names. I decided to write about Magnolia Street, Port Neches, which is close to where I live. It's a really quaint and cute place filled with cute shops, an adorable bookstore, some kickass BBQ and a brewery making the most fantastic local beer. But an oil refinery looms just in the distance, looming like a shadow over the place. It's trying to be beautiful. It really is. That's the impulse of this poem.

Magnolia Street, Port Neches

If you call something “magnolia”
it must be beautiful. This quaint street
invites a stroll—a charming bookstore,
a funky brewery, a downtown filled with the scent
of bbq smoke wafting. Magnolia,
the name blooms with beauty and baggage—
the scent of flowers following this street
like the lovely, troubled past of a belle
returned to town after years of being away,
her absence inspiring rumors of all kinds.

Here, Magnolia bloomed before this street
As built, before Dixie had meaning,
Before the Karankawa who called this little bluff
On the hot-tempered Neches river home,
Before even bees. They ruled this landscape
With their clean petals, inciting spring
with the unwhorling of a blossom.

They’ll bloom here long after this road
Pot-holes to death, the city choked
By the smoke of the refinery
That overpowers the landscape.

Call something magnolia to make it beautiful.
Call this city Magnolia. Call that refinery magnolia.
Call yourself Magnolia. Fill your hair with the white flowers,
let its sweet scent coat your skin. Close your eyes and dream.