David P. Miller: “It’s a Grand Night for Singing”

It’s a Grand Night for Singing

It’s the usual cramped hustle between platforms.
Blue tarps and green scaffolds narrow the passage
down and elbowed around the vague gapers
who possibly know where they’re headed
but hesitate and rotate below my speed, well
anyway, I find little vacancies to slip between.

Left in my wake, a baritone warbler I almost don’t hear.
People sing in the subway, but this is so odd, a voice
of deep mahogany. Not like the flattened
tune-shapes chanted by men (always men)
following their earbuds’ commands.

Landed and ready, I bulldozed to no avail.
A ten minutes’ wait. The croon approaches,
patient, nearing, a church choir cornerstone.
And I know what he sings—how? This
something that’s maybe more than the moon,
maybe it’s more than the birds

maybe it’s more than the sight of the night,
in a light too lovely for words
I want to shut out because I’m ten again,
my mother has choral group ladies
around the piano, downstairs
after bed and I want quiet. Boy galaxy
of boy planet circling boy star,

it’s all me, weary of hearing the starts
and stops of this same same music.
For my mother, her women,
it’s all a grand night for singing.
Each time again, they insist,
the earth is a-glow
and to add to the show,

I think I am falling in love
he booms behind me, gray braid
poked from cloth cap, two-wheeled cart
with trash bag liner, umbrella handle
at the lip. He pushes toward the far end,
his own audience,
falling, falling in love.


David P. Miller’s chapbook, The Afterimages (Červená Barva Press), was published in 2014. His journal credits include Main Street RagMeat for TeaCalifornia Quarterly, What Rough Beast, and Ibbetson Street, among many others. David is a librarian at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts.

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