The body has acquired an extended life, floating down the newly created Venetian canals of New Orleans, almost lazy in disposition, face up like a tourist, gaping at the beaded verandas and abandoned terraces of a moratorium Mardi Gras.
The Missa Cantata Happy Hour has been suspended in the Big Easy.
The body floats by blankets strewn on rooftops and folks shielding themselves from the unrelenting sun with handmade signs beseeching help and relief.
A child blows bubblegum and dips a yo-yo on the edge of the roof gutter as the body floats by as if it was, well, just like any other body.
This body seems more overweight than bloated, although the cracks along the cheeks and forehead betray what used to be thin; a few days ago, darkened fingertips practiced at a charcoal piano perhaps, clenched and split-lipped like the numerous unemployed trumpet players of the French Quarter.
A drowned black cat joins the body, a faithful pet, two tied hefty trash bags trailing behind their only meager hobo possessions.
They wade in place patiently when a helicopter hovers to throw some bottled drinking water at wheelchair person slumped precariously over a leaning balcony. Three of the five bottles splash into the current, another knocks a potted fern off the railing, and the last bounces into a darkened opened room next door over.
What a strange wake through the discarded streets of a much beloved city. The body undulates slightly from the ripples created by the distant crisscrossing swamp airboats searching for survivors and refugees.
Here, a snag next to a light post marks a spot for reflection. A wide-eyed man hurries past chest deep holding a rifle, a loaf of bread, and a fifth of whiskey over his head. He sneers at the body, a temporary perceived threat or impediment.
Not any more, the body merely continues on a concluding journey to redemption, a small eddy swirls the body around slowly in a contemplative twist, one long last look at the unforgiving crescent fishbowl where dreams came to fail and to die at length, just one more story in Storyville.
A truly somber procession carries the body to a realized final resting place, at the foot of a submerged exit ramp, amidst the accumulated debris, refuse, and stink, among the other lost souls who got there before to meet the snarling, feral, starved dogs fighting and slobbering.