Abyssinia

A single bead of sweat drips off of my chin
before falling silently onto my cotton dress.
I place a Billie Holiday record on the turntable
and close my eyes to focus on her delicious sounds.
Billie’s sweet salty voice travels into every
corner of this tiny tomb while outside, the crickets
strain to hum along – they yearn to sing like her too.

As I greedily lap up the prayers that are being
washed into my ears I see Billie in a smoky
Harlem nightclub singing for her supper.
She is resplendent in a white satin gown
and scarlet heels which match her lipstick.
The boys from Syracuse sit at the bar downing
every note that escapes from this lonely lady’s lips.

I stand up and begin to sway to the memory
of days gone by when a gentle breeze wafts
in from the open window to baptize my silver head.

Eleanora – it’s only midnight – why did you go so soon?