I am holding the keys to your songs in my hands
I know you opened the world with a mouth full of teeth clinging to the border
you held the click of our bones in the twist of your tongue
you electrifying song
burning through skin and bone
when you sing, salt water pours from your throat
sterilizes the bones
soaks all the stones
and all the blood returns with a pulse to its people.
You made music like you were making a war cry for its mother tongue.
Though home was a distant wounded storm
you held the note by the throat
and sang for the hurricane gushing through bones.
You gave noise a quiet voice for grieving,
a gentle blues;
for the descendants of a noose
for Jumping Jacks
for kings and queens of solitaire.
I hope you rest in the music you gave.
Our country is still a bleeding tune
we do not sing the way we sang along to you.
You may be gone in the song of bone and the music of drying flesh.
Your organs may have stopped playing
your body is mute
but your music hasn’t stopped breathing for you.