Goodbye, Queenie, So Long

by Tony Reevy

 Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018, the “Queen of Soul”

Another rush-hour backup—
seems inevitable
the way things are now.

The road is so flat—
a black surface
ranked with metal boxes.

The radio,
like a friend,
makes this mess almost

Then a voice—
I mean a voice
Shirley Caesar.

She’s singing
the pure gospel.

It’s the Queen’s funeral.
Going on five hours
and still counting.

Caesar’s music has never moved me—
until now. A woman
from my town,
mourning the passing
of another great voice.

Now, a period recording
by the Queen
plays—and I sit
here, trapped
in this six-o-clock
chain of fools.

Tony Reevy’s previous publications include poetry, non-fiction and short fiction, including the non-fiction books Ghost Train!, Life Along the Line, The Railroad Photography of Jack Delano and The Railroad Photography of Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg, and three poetry books. He resides in Durham, North Carolina.