The National Poetry Review

Anne Babson

AIR: THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND

“For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” – 1 Corinthians 15:52

When the horn blows,
We will hear the crepe of chairs scraping on the linoleum,
The bray of silver tray clattering against marble staircase, of
Ice chips chiming against the metal bar top,
And of course, the sound of Ella’s crooning to us
Like a siren on the rocks, beckoning us to rise,
And we will leave our beaded bags hung on the fan backs,
Take a last sip of our cosmopolitans, and get out
Of our seats, make a beeline for the bandstand.

When the horn blows,
We will hear the scrap of the entire brass section,
The scowl of Louis’ growling scat, or is it glossalalia,
We will hear the slithering of snare sticks, the plump lumping
Of the big bass, the tinkling syncopation of the piano,
And of course, the sound of one hand clapping
A finger crooked and wiggled, beckoning us to rise,
And we each will grab the waist of the nearest smoldering
Smiling one, the hand of the nearest handsome winsome one,
And shuffle out on the pressed plywood polished platform.

When the horn blows,
We will hear the slaking snake oil snake hips shake, ship-sinking
Loose lips licking, slicking, sticking, all melt into the
Maracas’ mosh, the guitar’s gait, the Xylophone’s phone calls,
The tom-tom, tom-tom, blood and tom-tom of Gene’s gongs,
And of course, the sound of the emcee’s requested drum roll, please,
Suspense suspended in the clarinet’s amber trills beckoning us to rise
And we will bop, strut, spin, trip the alarm, spin on the rip chord,
And lift each other up like pair skaters figuring future fractals.

When the horn blows,
We will hear the chandelier buckle under the weight of the
Fat lady singing, swinging, ring-clinging, the ballroom columns
Festooned with the tunes limpid lagooning, burning down like
Church candles, Guy’s countdown to the new birth — five-four-
Three-two-one — and of course, the mirrored ball dropping like
A sugar cube in spumante poured out to fete our departure,
Its refraction-shooting descent above us beckoning us to rise
And when the horn blows, we will float up on its divine sonority.
A red carpet rolled out for our parade upward, the swing swung
Swimmingly by the sultan of swat, our moon-glowing big band
Blower will knock us – the melded orb of jitterbuggers ascending
On a copper-coated note held by the virtuoso for many measures —
Toward the bleachers, above the back fence and out of the park.


ANNE BABSON’s poetry collection The White Trash Pantheon (Vox Press, 2015) and her current chapbook, Poems Under Surveillance (Finishing Line Press, 2013) are currently available in independent bookstores and on Amazon. She signed a contract for a new collection to be entitled Polite Occasions to be released some time in 2019 by Unsolicited Press. Nominated for the Pushcart four times, her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and recently appeared in Iowa Review, Cider Press Review, Southampton Review, Bridges, Barrow Street, Connecticut Review, The Pikeville Review, Rio Grande Review, English Journal, New Song, The Penwood Review, Sow’s Ear, The Madison Review, Atlanta Review, Grasslands Review, WSQ, Global City Review, Comstock Review, California Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, The Red Rock Review, and many other publications.

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