First thing, she arranged us in rows
at the front of the classroom,
tallest in back, smallest in front.
Next, she pulled the shining pitch-
pipe from the hidden placket
in her black linen habit,
put it to her lips, then held it in front
of her, put it back to her lips and blew.
That day’s note was like
a chain on the flagpole. We opened
our books and began to sing, “Faith
of our fathers, living still.”
Her hands made sails and half-moons
in the air; her lips made the words stand
still so that we could step from note
to note, “in spite of dungeon, fire,
and sword;” as the chorus rolled back
and forth over the morning sun.
“The One True Choir” by Joyce Sutphen from After Words. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)