aretha, verb.

cause every choir girl in the world

didn’t need no explanation when

the choir director walked up to her

on that stage and whispered,

“I need you to ‘Aretha‘ this song.”

you understood that it wasn’t about

pretending that your 2 and a half

octave range could match her 4

it wasn’t about grinding

them end notes so that folk who wrote

the song went on and gifted you the

song cause wasn’t nobody else gon

sing that song like you no way


it meant singing so the folk

in the bleachers felt it

it meant pulling that song into the

marrow of your soul and dishing

it out like chest pie from the

top shelf waiting on

Pastor Appreciation Day

you took that direction and

long after you left the choir

you Aretha’ed your poetry and

then your lovemaking

you brought that everythingness

and poured it into your work

never mind if you were selling shoes

or houses or editing medical journals

you Aretha’d it and when you walked

off that job they longed for you like

a kitten misses his mother’s milk.



One Comment Add yours

  1. heyannis says:

    Another moving beauty of a poem, Wanda.

    “you brought that everythingness
    and poured it into your work…”

    YOU sure have and do!

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