Singer on River Street, Savannah, Georgia
With a few words, did you place her in the front row?
Her eyes, raw from elsewhere, beg your attention.
Perched apart from the rest, she is the hungriest one.
Did she come to see you? Your mind traces back
the last week’s sequence—first your text to the drummer
that he passed to the agent, the agent to the booking man,
the booking man’s tip that set the newspaper rolling.
The front page displayed you. Whooping, you drank till dawn.
On the quiet nights, awake in your dorm room,
you stare at the sky and dream its machinery.
How many gears does it hold? Can your words conduct them?
Through so many reactions, you took the stage
in this city kept by chance, the blocks that Sherman spared
the backdrop as you tuned and set the tip jar down.
In this room may be connections, the unexpected prize
that the right song or smile brings. The woman watches you
watch her. She swallows, cups her hands for warmth.
You say she sought you, not shelter, that her wet feet wound
past the tall ship, the carriages, the rain-spangled river;
the current you started with your fingers on the pad
has changed the motion of the street here, placed a body
where no body was before. Where does the current
go from here? Does she stay? Depart by dawn?
Everything offstage suspended, you cue the next song.
Published in The First Thing Mastered (Tebot Bach, 2013)