Reed Turchi: The Last Load-Out & The Long Road Home: Nashville Twenty-Twenty & the Death of John Prine

There’s a white throated sparrow learning to sing,  
each morning stringing a few more long low whistles

together across the dew-damp air, breathy notes that
broke in thin wisps a week ago, & I’m laying here listening

because there’s nowhere else to be & because either
vocal polyps or chronic laryngitis have shut me up —

so I listen, & last night heard a dark breeze blow in
after sundown, bothering the leaves, & it was then,

the night turning darker, that heavy clouds gathered
& sunk lower, weighing down the shoulders of the city

into one deep sigh that sounds more & more resigned…listen….
it’s Friday night & the bars are empty, the falling echoes

of dancers shuffling down darkened hallways becomes
the sound of another thousand musicians lowering hand-worn

necks into velvet-lined plush cases headed for the pawn shop,
living out the lyrics of a three-chord song.

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