The Lady by Sy Roth



It’s in a blue café
Where votive candles barely illuminate
Beneath the ground—
20 steps down
A haunting requiem in pace
Where the patrons cluck and wait,
Walls dripping in anticipation
Where Lady sings.

They inhale in oinky snorts,
Puffs of smoke from their Pall Malls curling above them
Cigarettes veed between yellowed fingers.

The smoke scratches their eyes like fright-filled felines,
Draws them closed in sleepy somnambulance.

She crept in on slippered feet
The microphone is now crowned
By the svelte beauty
Eyes half shut in remembrance
Ready to lick licorice melodies from the air.

Breathy sounds begin
A tearful twang in the melody
Of the lady who sees the ghosts dangling illicit
And the drinks now lay idle on their tables.

She wraps the room in gut-wrenching thrall.
Hugs the microphone to her cushioned lips,
Ashen against the pale cocoa skin.

The airless room hushes.
The floating corona of smoke a keffiyeh
Wrapped about the men and women.

The voice has bits of pebbles in it,
That crackle at the crimped keys of the pianist,
Small, well-worn rocks rolling about in the caverns
Banging gently against the uvula
Of her troubled soul.

Her dark hair sits flat like a yarmulke.
The bass thrumming
And the cymbals jitteriing feathery tickles in the background.

And they sway to her vision
Of the hanging men
Wanton baubles on the edges of the trees
In the winds of their minds,
In the bluish theater of her life.

Rawhide life-forms sashay about in the spotlight
Framing her sorrow.

She smiles a timid smile at them
When she opens her eyes and lets them in
The ice of ancient men melts, crinkles
In her ice-age song
Gambols In their drinks, undrunk
And the cigarette ash grows long and stringy.

They lose themselves in her bereavement–
Her meanderings.

From the deep canyons where she lassos her feelings
The voice and her pains long for escape.

And they get it.
They entangle themselves with her
Struggling to escape her sorrow
It becomes one with them.

They feel her emotive drafts
A hissing viper,
And it chills them.
Feel her diaspora of separation.

It soothes them,
Irks them
With their melodic triage.

And her bosom heaves a long sigh
While the trumpet and the tinkling piano
Weeps with her.

The song ends.
The lady has sung
The world waits long
For its breath to return.

The ashes from the forgotten cigarettes fall to the floor
Silently and she bows her head gently to their sustained applause.

©2020 Sy Roth


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Sy Roth is a retired school administrator and has finally found the sounds of silence and the time to think whole thoughts. This has led him to find words and the ability to shape them. He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Mad Swirl, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin’ Kitch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller’s Pond Poetry and The Eloquent Atheist.

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