Vox Populi

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Jenne’ R. Andrews: A Mockingbird Sings Bel Canto

“Demon or bird! (said the boy’s soul,) 

Is it indeed toward your mate you sing?

or is it really to me? 

  –“Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”  — Walt Whitman


You came to singing as a child, voice made

of light and air, rain and dust storms:


a little girl caroling and plain in the mirror,

small imitative bird, velvet snare of impulse


binding you to vision. Now, Puccini

at twilight: two voices rising and falling


in the depths of La Scala’s red brocade mouth.

Pinkerton and that princess Damrau,


together: in the background the pyre

of conquest. Butterfly dies for love beautifully;


at its apogee the moon shatters in her throat.

The critic next to you nods: Please, tremulous


diva die again—your hair a mane down your back,

the knife glinting in your small ivory hand.


You leave the opera replenished, arms

in your silk jacket swinging freely, clutch


with its rhinestone; the cheap single ticket

drifts away along the curb, into the river.


You do not see that the sidewalk is underwater,

that lamps glow at the bottom. In a trattoria


you drink a glass of forgetfulness; the stranger

next to you looks, looks away. Back out


to the street, you reorient yourself by the few

visible stars, unbind your hair; you walk quickly:


there is someone you know too well in

the shimmering windows. Placer y lagrimas,


pleasure and tears tonight: you retreat to your lair,

stripping yourself of that tasteful boutique suit,


those low-heeled dancing shoes: and then some

light rain within, a batik scrim of trees leaning out


of the past–ghosts of lovers only half-forgotten,

your own voice rising with unfettered


and unscored yearning that measure for measure,

cascades like jubilant water through the dark.

Copyright 2014 Jenne’ R. Andrews


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This entry was posted on September 16, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , .

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