O FOR A TONGUE TO SING
I cannot sing.
“Not your gift,”
My grandmother would say.
Oh, but the group up front.
“Joyful, joyful,” they sing
and “fall on your knees.”
And I would if not for the stir
it would cause. My knees itch
to touch the floor, to bend
in deference to the season.
I whisper the words, stare
at the burgundy carpet
begging me to follow it
to the altar.
Except the altar is gone
to make way for these voices
lifted like petals drifting
up into the starry sky—reversing
the laws we think we know.
Oh, to tear my clothes and dance
like King David before the ark.
To sing, to open my mouth
and pour glory out for anyone,
for everyone to hear.
The choir director’s jeans are frayed.
She moves like music, and the choir
can see where she’s headed, carrying
streams of water flowing from fountains
right there—beneath their heart and lungs.
Words—from the song and not—mix
in my mind, blend, beg for a place
Not everyone is gifted to sing.
But, oh–we are all gifted.