— Christine Richardson

“Everybody’s got their story.
 You just got to let them sing.”
      — Studs Terkel

Give this man a microphone
a megaphone will do.
Amplified or hollow cone,
something sonic to undo

the long-armed force of sleep.
Give him a different wooden box. One
which raises him above the deep
throngs lost in their own confusion.

Make the box strong and his voice resonant
so one person stops to listen,
then others, too, grant
this man attention. He begins

to tell his story in common words,
words they use to tell their own
but in an order they have never heard:
singular meaning, singular tone.

Let him speak until his story is done,
though it ends badly and too soon.
Yes, some turn and hurry off. Let some
stay. Let them stand aside and give him room

when he steps down and passes through.

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