Poem for Aretha Franklin when she opens her mouth our world swells like dawn on the pond when the sun licks the water & the jay garbles, the whole quiet thing coming into tune, the gnats, frogs, the dandelion pollen, the pebbles & leaves & the whole world of us sitting at the throat of the jay dancing in the throat of the jay all of us on the lip of the jay singing doowop, doowop, do.
from People Close To You
She asks if she can sit on the bench & it is that kind of day in Santa Monica, slow & gentle so that when she sits, properly, like a teacher or the pudgy mother of a girl named Marilyn, in unison you raise your round faces. The wind hefts the voices of your deadlings. They are serious & sorrowful women, full of warnings, but today seem content to let you be, saying only, Child, be thankful, open your chest, that great cavern, to our other sister. & so you watch the sea.
Who knows what the woman beside you hears: there are so many languages in the world & your tongue is tied to this one. So you sip iced tea & lean a bit forward into them, your gone women, your sages, who seem to be stroking your head. You begin to imagine the ocean floor as a cup, the pouty lips of God, the soft foam, the salt as if food, tasting sweet & clear.