Sunday, March 23, 2014

Poem: Betany


Her stance athletic,
pumps planted, toes out,
light spring dress,
eyes of a huntress.

But also a good host.
She pours a pitcher of Handel,
lemonade trills, prepping the
room for harsher intervals.

Sopranos will skate on a
handful of tricks, silver confetti,
betting on the presence of
(They are largely right.)

Betany is the relentless mezzo,
jab, jab, work the body,
building the case, weaving trust,
ruthlessly intelligent.

 And yet, in an opera,
capable of pouring herself out,
emotional jags that would
fail with a tick of hesitation.

The entrée is rich and dark,
Blake on a sextet.
Dessert a mad Broadway patter,
half sugar, half ammo,
words in a vise.

In the second verse, she stumbles,
and does the thing that no one does.
Says, I almost got it that time.
Races to her pianist, taps the score.
Plants her feet.
And gets it right.

From the collection Fields of Satchmo
Photo by Elaina Generally

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