Thursday, August 21, 2008

When you say "I'll call you"

When you say “I’ll call you”
every time we part,
do you expect me to wait
for you to ring,
(do you think I would not
blink in the mean while)
or do you mean it as a thing
somewhat stupid and tactless
like “I’ll take care of you”?
Am I to close my eyes,
expectantly, feigning patience,
or make claims of inevitability
like when winter waits for spring
(love begins then, they say, when
birds have no choice but to sing)?

The Song of Shug Avery

I could take crowds of people with me
and strike the loudest knock on the door
of his church. I could face my father now
and sing the song he thought was his alone;
sing it louder and with a passion he had never
felt or seen. I could straighten my back, not
like a wall that gives and receives nothing,
but instead, like a tree that has roots to take
the water, leaves to give out the air we breathe
(like someone proud who knows her worth).
I could take the song and pin it in his ears,
so that, at last, he listens to his God, to figure out
if He is trying to tell him something, right now.
I could, finally, in the middle of my song,
fall silent; let someone else sing the chorus,
as I step ahead and hold my father in my arms,
close enough for him to hear, when I say,
'See daddy, sinners have song too.'