George Ella Lyon: She Sings

She sings but she sings the wrong song.
She sings but she sings the song wrong.
She sings but it’s not a real song.
She sings but she should be ashamed.
She sings but you don’t want to hear it.
She’s not really singing.
Someone else is working her mouth.

She sings but it’s too soft to hear.
She sings but it’s too loud to listen.
She sings but she swallows the words.
She sings but she belts it out.
She sings but look where she does it.

She sings but o my God that accent.
She sings but did you see her teeth.
She sings but look at those clothes.
She sings but where are her children.
She sings but you know about her mother.
She sings but she stole that song.
It’s not just her mouth she opens.

She sings but she has no rhythm.
She sings but her playing is terrible
her house is a wreck
she doesn’t have a man.
She sings but her man is a woman.
She sings when it’s not time for singing.
She sings when we told her not to.
We told her we want quiet.

We told her to shut up.
We showed her the gag.
She keeps singing.

Kentucky Poet Laureate George Ella Lyon’s collections of poems include Many-Storied House, She Let Herself Go, and (with J. Patrick Lewis) Voices from the March on Washington. She is also a novelist and author of children’s books.

Carol Polsgrove