64 Parishes

From Holy Cross to Oakland 

Poetry by David Havird, selected by Louisiana Poet Laureate John Warner Smith

Published: February 26, 2021
Last Updated: June 8, 2021

From Holy Cross to Oakland 

Oakland Cemetery

Oakland Cemetery, Shreveport.

In this poem, matter and spirit intersect in spaces where seeing means believing in something. David  Havirds  senses are ablaze with imagination and burning with faith. 

—John Warner Smith 


I sit beneath a wooden vault’s steep prayer, 

which  slices through a day that blurs with rain. 


Amid  a ship’s deep belly, 

I hug myself as though to hang head down, 


a  bat, from a beam.  

If I were to open the cape of myself  


and  radar out of the chilly nave,  

I’d nose  through  ground  as through night air, 


dug  earth’s unbreathable  dark,  

dodging  Clark and Marks, 


Cane, McCune, and Crain,  

remains  that hover over  their  drowned stone names. 


David  Havird  is the author of two collections of poems,  Map Home  (2013) and  Penelope’s Design  (2010), which won the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. His most recent book is  Weathering  (2020), a  “chimeric omnibus”  of poetry and memoir. He taught for thirty years at Centenary College of Louisiana. He lives in Shreveport.