He points to Sting and Bob Marley,
his eyes hopscotching sideways
over walls of worn bright album covers
all the way to the ceiling, lighting
up for the first time
as salsa music and hissing milk
steam the room and warp
corners that squeeze
us into the proximity
and nexts. Shots
in hot mugs clank against laughing teeth.
He slides forward in his seat
back again. When India Arie
escorted Stevie Wonder to the stage
he tells me, she kissed him on the cheek.
The next morning beach balls
soar through the sanctuary,
the whole congregation plays
on kazoos but only after the Jewish
minister of this Unitarian church
wishes everyone a happy Hanukkah
as he juggles.
Joy to the fishies
in the deep blue sea, brass
horns blow fat bubbles of light
across a swaying crowd, on feet,
Joy to you and me.
This is morning’s prelude
to dusk as it rides in on fiddle and flute.
Clapping stomp dancing feet
chase a reel as it vaults off the skin
of an Irish drum then ricochets around the belly
of a bouzouki swollen with Miss Fogarty’s
Christmas cake and strung
with cinnamon berry and gold.
Cresting and crashing
our lustrous flesh resounds
with chords carried by tides of vinyl,
voice, reed, steel. Air, all of it,
curving through the space between cells
and what they create,
our eyes half closed awake
to colors that do not exist in our language,
fingers tracing hieroglyphs
of that ancient tongue
across the sky.