Christina Daub

At the One Step

Because of the grand whoosh
when she entered, lady of jazz,
we bopped in our seats, fizz
twinkling, ready to thrum
our fingers to her eel-like rhythms,
her bone-bruising blues.

“I got enough blues,”
Frank said. Said he’d get his whoosh
reading a book of word-rhythms,
poems, you know, written jazz
to make the heart thrum
and the mind fizz.

So we left him home, gin fizz
in one hand, pail of blues
he caught earlier in the other, thrum
of silverbacks, each a whoosh
out of brackish water, scale jazz
to be scraped and slit, rhythms

translating now to rhythms
of sweet flesh, salt, lemon fizz,
buttery meltsauce like jazz,
jambalaya, gumbo of chopped up blues—
all of us now in a whoosh
of hunger, leaving Frank full-thrum

to cook for no one, thrum
of the night club calling, rhythms
of Louisiana, lady who likes to whoosh,
croon, wail and fizz,
dish out her own homebrewed blues,
ululating swamp songs, jazz.

For what else is life but jazz,
a find your own way kind of thrum,
hitting high notes and lowdown delta blues.
What else, but one long smoky night, rhythms
thumping, ice clinking, the swizzling fizz
of words and tunes, a too soon ending whoosh.

Christina Daub co-founded The Plum Review, the Plum Writer's Retreats and ran the Plum Reading Series for several years in DC. Recent poems appear in the anthologies Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and The Paradelle. She is a recipient of a Young American Poet's award and her work has been translated into Russian, Italian and German. She has taught Creative Writing and Poetry in the English Department at George Washington University and has taught in the Maryland and Virginia Poets-in-the-Schools programs as well as to adults for many years at The Writer's Center. To read more by this author: Winter 2000 issue Whitman issue