The Wittenberg Backdoor Bar


For my seventieth birthday my daughter
transforms our living room into a bar—
black sheets over windows, candles on
small tables, the family gathered.
She has provided a karaoke player
to fulfill my old dream to sing love songs
into a microphone. I’ve entered through
the back to croon “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
while my young grandson works the fog
machine, the pianist shifts foundations
with jazzy chords, and the bass player
hugs the deep hollow as he bends and plucks.
No theses nailed to the front door,
no confrontations. Only a dialogue
between voice and instruments about
a “lovely flame dying” as I enter my
eighth decade in a sleek black dress
and a tune, another cry for embrace.