I’d sing you a better lullaby, babygirl, if these chipped walls
cradled soft notes right. They sag and give, the way
Mama’s voice does when she tries to sing the doxology.
Church never held no cradle for me, but you know how
She grew up in choir robes and hymnal dust.
Sunday afternoons, Papa’d sigh over to the piano bench and
Drop his fingers into the slots for middle C. I used to believe
Gershwin was a snake-charmer, and when he and her soared
I swear no serpent could have held out
The first time I saw your daddy in Blues I laughed.
Couldn’t help it, wouldn’t help him – that cap sheared off
Whatever the barracks barber hadn’t. Babygirl, if a man
Don’t sing, don’t follow. His boots snapped over streets in
Okinawa, France, some burgh in Germany, but his socks
Don’t got time to lose their pairs in our hamper.
You know the beaches here hiss different. Funny how
Grey mornings make the sound of water
Sneaking into the cracks between crushed up rocks and shells
Important. Girl of mine, we’ll find you a song that clings to
Salty fog and slabs of ocean. Maybe he’ll hear it.
Alexandra Villamore is an undergraduate student at UC Riverside.