Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve posted any poetry, so I’m a bit rusty, but here’s the story.
Sometime last night, one of my favorite artists, Jon Foreman, posted on Twitter that he wanted an idea for a song to write the next day (today). The idea became “tomorrow’s song,” and he challenged folks to write a song in 24 hours with that subject or phrase or whatnot in it. People responded all over the world, posting their lyrics and music on Twitter. Well, I don’t write songs, but I try my hand at a bit of verse, and here’s what I came up with.
She roots down underneath the purple sheets,
covered in stars that beam bravely. Her eyes are already
filled with the twinkling of sleep, waiting to take her
to lands beyond for the night, but she rubs them away
with the back of her hand, nose scrunched in attempts
to hold the blissful surrender at bay. Oh, how we fight the gift
as children. Every night, she asks me, “Please,
will you sing me the tomorrow song?”
And so I do, with my untrained voice and blurred,
tired mind from cleaning up macaroni crafts and
making peanut butter sandwiches in the shape of stars.
I sing her the song of tomorrow,
of trips to the zoo to see the elephants, of chocolate
chip cookies eaten under blue blanket forts. I sing
to her of yellow tulips heralding spring, and I sing to her
of the raindrops that make the muddy puddles. I sing to her
of classrooms, and first kisses, and prom dates, and graduations.
Sometimes my voice trembles as I sing of swimming
lessons while my mind is underwater, quaking with a nation
swimming for survival. Or I sing of parades and think of
the ones halted by gunfire and cold eyes. Or I sing of picnic lunches
and see hollow cheekbones and distended bellies.
Her eyes are always closed and her mouth always open,
the sweet puffs of yesterday leaving her, before the second verse.
But I keep singing despite my slumbering audience
because it’s tradition and because she asks every night
and because someday she won’t, and too late
I will realize that I sing it for me more than her, that
I sing the tomorrow song to believe
it is true.