Sneak Peak!

Aretha
by Michael Conner 

She is our Queen, draped in the blues,
weaving a throne out of heavy chords—
chords adding color to the bruise.

Her songs hint of hymns from tobacco row pews,
of Exodus and Moses and Pharaoh’s line of lords.
But she is our Queen, draped in the blues

of seas that wept waves when men wouldn’t share the moon,
but left us cramped in damp boards—
boards adding color to the bruise.

By the rivers we wept, our hopes hung by a noose,
and we sang our old songs while the Crows cawed for more,
led by our Queen, draped in the blues.

The King gave us a dream; they called it a ruse,
tattooed us with fire-hose bullets and police dog scars—
scars adding color to the bruise.

But she is a Hope-Song her mother let loose
in the abuse of ‘42 to bear the news of ‘64.
She is our Queen, draped in the blues—
blues adding color to the bruise.

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