even in the brain, in the rests
broken with the pain
of not knowing your own
notes, your own voice.
It’s a cruel stranger
that encores the dementia dirge
and tricks even the soul-
ful into forgetting the name-
O, Fats, O, Etta--
Ain’t That A Shame and
Fool That I Am got switched at the synapse
and all that jumbles the soul
clogged up and stopped singing
the self. Still,
mellow Fats, when those cats
sang you gone with Katrina,
you knew to insist that
behind those silent lips, you’re still
blues-ing and twisting.
And, Sassy Etta,
when last winter caught you
rolling death, tell me you remembered,
somewhere in your blues-infused brain
to cat-call all of us,
then belt out At Last again.
This poem was previously published in New York Dreaming.
Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published eleven collections of poetry-including True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series and Illumination Book Award medalist); Local News from Someplace Else; Wives' Tales; Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); andPerpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)-the short story collection What She Was Saying(Fomite Press), and over 500 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Co-editor ofCommon Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State Press), she also has published four children's books: A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry, Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems ; A Man Named Branch: The True Story of Baseball's Great Experiment (middle grade biography); and Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems + Insider Exercises. For more information, please see www.marjoriemaddox.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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