“Sea Song”

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.

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Alexandra Villamore is an undergraduate student at UC Riverside.

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