58: The Singing School

58: The Singing School

58: The Singing School

The Singing School

by Eloise Klein Healy

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I saw one narrow as a blade
in a man’s black suit

I saw one drop her pages
on the floor and walk away
from the microphone like a bullfighter
turning his back on a bull

I saw one with generous breasts
in a floral print dress
shift from one foot to the other
while her body blushed all over

I saw one in pain, in pain
enough for ten strong women
but she didn’t say a word about that
pain, she went deep under the water
and came back and she wasn’t alone

I saw one who’s breasts were cut off,
and she sang anyway saying,
“Nobody cut my throat yet”

I saw one who mid-wifed the language
of her tribe and taught everyone
to dance to its music

I saw one comb through history
sifting the dust for rings, for broken links
of gold, for altar pieces and the altars, too,
for the shapes of animals and birds
in conversation and divinity in the tracks of deer

I saw one in her coffin strewn with roses
and lilies, the narrow heaven she made
rising around her perfumed and dense as diamonds

I saw them in their labor and I saw them laugh,
and all of them, all of them have passed down Sappho’s street
in Eressos and stood at the beach
where the dark rock stands, where if you look carefully
you can see a lioness about to rise and go

"The Singing School," from THE ISLANDS PROJECT by Eloise Klein Healy. Copyright © 2007 by Eloise Klein Healy. Used by permission of Red Hen Press.