Voice Clear As
When my mom discovers heaven’s just a noise festival
the godchoir of all her loves breathing
unsnagged by asthma or Newport-dragged lung
the true song life makes untethered from a body
tugged at last from the men who hold its reins
will she blame her pastors (like I did)
for Sunday portraits of pooled white gold?
Will she miss the wooden flute of her body
mourn the days corner-propped, cloaked in dust
too pious to disturb a room’s skin cells
and stray hair with her sound
snapped awake at the nightmare of a slip fringe
the private note sung aloud?
Or, unburdened by hell
will she exhale
and hear the bells?
Copyright © 2021 by Kemi Alabi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 16, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.