Your Voice - Pauletta Hansel

for Aralee Strange, 12/5/43- 6/15/13

There are not many who remember now
your voice,
those days, a graveled whisper
dissolving from your breath to air
that would have given us
your words.
Your poems just beginning then
to edge sideways between the cracks
of other voices, their edges hard
and polished bright—
your voice
was the one we turned toward,
hoping to hear.

Your voice,
the one we all remember,
that Alabama rumble of a train,
grew sure and clear,
was forever making room—
A room, a mic (open, always),
the chairs filled up with poets
listening to each other’s voices
growing ever stronger
as you leaned in close,
making sure you heard.
You heard.

The room is dark now;
the mic turned off.
We are listening,
Come close,
a poem, please,
one more from you.
Your voice
in our ears.

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