Dawn coming in over the fieldsof darkness takes me by surpriseand I look up from my solitary roadpleased not to be alone, the birdsnow choiring from the orange groveshuddling to the low hills. But sorrythat this night has ended, a nightin which you spoke of how little lovewe seemed to have known and all of itgoing from one of us to the other.You could tell the words took meby surprise, as they often will, and yougrew shy and held me away for a while,your eyes enormous in the darkness,almost as large as your hungerto see and be seen over and over.30 years ago I heard a woman singof the motherless child sometimesshe felt like. In a white dressthis black woman with a gardeniain her hair leaned on the pianoand stared out into the breathing darknessof unknown men and women needingher songs. There were those amongus who cried, those who rejoicedthat she was back before us for a time,a time not to be much longer, forthe voice was going and the habitsslowly becoming all there was of her.And I believe that night she caredfor the purity of the songs and notmuch else. Oh, she still sawthe slow gathering of that red duskthat hovered over her cities, and nodoubt dawns like this one caughther on the roads from job to job,but the words she'd lived by weredrained of mystery as this skyis now, and there was no more "EasyLiving" and she was "Miss Brown" tono one and no one was her "Lover Man."The only songs that mattered were wordlesslike those rising in confusion fromthe trees or wind-songs that wakenthe grass that slept a century, thatwaken me to how far we've come.
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