An ode to the non singers

The first audition in eight years.

Makeup that’s powder pressed into pale skin.

I choose pink lips that smell like the cool bouquets from the ballet recitals of many years ago, in childhood.

Memorial day weekend in New Orleans pastes black clothing to the spaces beneath knees.

“Don’t be intimidated when you get there,” he advised me. “Don’t take things seriously anymore.”

Metal folding chairs stab the backs of thighs. A high school in Jefferson Parish heavy with the end of the school year, has a stage large enough for us to stand one by one and one at a time, when our name is finally called.

I used to be able to do this. To sing in key while following the hands dancing across the most beautiful instrument in the world, the piano. It’s been so long. Am I too late? The others who sing before me have voices deserving of cathedrals. When it’s my turn they call my name and I walk out into the center of the stage, toe by toe, and I sing.

“Go back over there and work with him. Sing along to the piano.”
“We’re not only looking for singers. We need good characters also.”

I don’t belong here. I tell my feet to get up and to walk out.

A wooden stage feels like home. A spotlight burns with the knowledge that they are all looking at me.

To give you another chance because you cannot sing, but possess feet full of promise.

“Where are you from and why are you here?”

“Come back next week.”

“We want to see you dance.”

“Bring your tap shoes.”


Thank you.


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