Down the backstreets of Seattle’s south side
near Pioneer Square, seamstresses fashioned
passion’s art during evening strolls overlooking
Elliott Bay, spent a lifetime hearing confessions,
A sepia eternity for remembering people, places,
propositions, events…sawdust on everything
from fingerless laced gloves and rainbow-colored parasols
to wheel rut puddles and wooden decks aligning streets,
planks ensured a floating walkway to weather the rain and snow
come winter, place to park horse and buggies come spring.
The 1889 Great Fire consumed flirtation’s corners
ravaged stores, homes, docks, timber mills, ferries,
saloons—and bordellos—scorched earth’s ashes
affecting lonely laborers and former magistrates alike.
Lou Graham and courtesans rebuilt the Gateway to Alaska
with bricks, sex, and moxie, rewarded fisherman, miners
and lumberjacks with an exhilarating release amid
working women who brought smiles to tired faces,
offered businesses a transaction venue—robust, attractive,
more admired and productive than the Washington Court House;
the queen of the lava beds counted round coins,
marched with suffragettes, funded the Emerald City’s
education system ere moving to Gold Mountain, dying at forty-four,
returning to Seattle, haunting local establishments in period clothes.