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Yes, She's a Jazz Singer

2010 Poetry Contest: Honorable Mention
Yes, She's a Jazz Singer

I tap my toes when Mary, on cello, plucks
the theme, a scotch-and-soda tune, her song
about an evening we can stroll and strut
away our aches, her dimples promising salt-
laden shoreline breezes; drummer brushes
his traps, touches cymbals and rattles; I stand
and join Mary in song, a ricochet chorus
of vowels, scatted nonsense, clapping my hands.

Guitar plays a siren's call, a night fire's burn;
cello and piano orbit, voice Venus high.
Red moon catches clams and mussels, sauce and Saturn,
meteor's flash, coals glowing for night's reprise.
Sustained notes sit me down, tone-tied and wrapped
in chords and changes, a voice that says you're back.

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Richard Roe is the Council of Wisconsin Writers's former appointee to the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. A retired Legislative Analyst and editor from Middleton, Roe began writing poetry in his mid-30s and has kept at it ever since. A preacher's kid who's lived in Ohio and New Jersey, he has a background in history and economics.

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