someone’s always standing

all she can hear is voices in the house
and her mother welcoming a guest
ceiling fan spins, cicadas sing
and two hearts beat inside her chest

all she can see is a graduation gown
and a tiny pink line that left her no doubt
high stakes, long odds
and a very short list of ways out

just a boy and a girl, and a good enough chance
when the music stops, somebody still stands
someone’s always standing

the minister’s wife knocks on her door
she has a famous nose for the scent of sin
a couple of words and an elegant smile
closes the door and comes in

there in her room and face to face
she’s ready to hear about heaven & hell
the minister’s wife can read her mind
she says i have another story to tell

the minister’s wife reaches into the past
and pulls out her secret little A
same sounds, same list
in a bedroom forty years away

all she can see is the snow on the sill
doctors and nurses and the minister’s wife
all she can hear is the machines going still
and the perfect sound of another life