Treasure Island

Len Roberts


The Silent Singer


The girls sang better than the boys,
their voices reaching All the way to God,
Sister Ann Zita insisted during those
practice sessions
when I was told to mouth do, re, mi,
but to go no higher,
when I was told to stand in back
and form a perfect 0
with my lips
although no word was ever to come out,
the silent singer in that third-grade
class
during the Christmas Pageant and Easter
Week, the birth and death
of Christ lip-synched
but unsung
while my relatives, friends and parents
praised my baritone,
how low my voice was,
Balancing those higher, more childlike tones,
my father said,
Adding depth, my mother said,
Thank God they had my huskiness to bring all
that tinniness to earth,
my great-aunt whispered,
so I believed for many years in miracles
myself,
the words I'd never sung reaching their ears
in the perfect pitch, the perfect tone,
while the others stuttered in their all-too-human
voices to praise the Lord.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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