Saint Francis Meets Ella Fitzgerald
It's early evening, the stars
just clicking on in the spangled vaults
of heaven. A fine sheen
of sweat glistens the cocktail
Tonight, like every night, the cover charge
is minimal, and the view
is outstanding. Small talk,
like music, is all about improvising
on a known quantity: the weather,
the family, the recessed murals everyone knows
conceal secret passageways.
Decked out in a robe of sparrows,
the bird-guy gets a bead on the woman
receding into the shadows. He smiles
at her shyness, threading
his way across the crowded room.
As if on cue,
Gabriel steps up
for a solo, arching so far back
his rosy robes sweep the horizon.
Francis gently guides her by the elbow
to the microphone. As her song
unravels from her throat he thinks,
Lord, make me an instrument,
and means just that.