“Aria” by Judith Waller Carroll

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying
about who hears or what they think. 
How freeing to be able to warble at will
like the wren in the high pine, the cardinal
in the thicket, to give voice to our heart’s
deepest wishes, our soul’s darkest fears.
Once, a homeless woman stood outside
my office building at the peak of the lunch hour
and sang all seven verses of Memory,
an unlikely diva wearing too much rouge
and mismatched earrings, a plastic spoon for a mic,
but what joy on her face as her voice rose
on the chorus, what triumph in her eyes.

Judith Waller Carroll is the author of What You Saw and Still Remember, a runner-up for the 2017 Main Street Rag Poetry Award, The Consolation of Roses, winner of the 2015 Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press Poetry Prize, and Walking in Early September (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, published in numerous journals and anthologies, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She blogs at https://inanotherdress.wordpress.com/