In a lonely airport somewhere—Charlotte, I believe,
There is a restroom.
In this restroom is a black attendant;
Inside this black attendant lives a voice that sounds like coffee
And feels like velvet.
She only sings when no one sees.
Those in the stalls listen, captivated,
Too embarrassed to flush.
I was powdering my nose when I first heard her;
I paused out of respect, then wonder.
The bathroom had grown holy
A place where tired angels sing
And white people sit.
Tears formed as she finished and
“Why, oh why, can’t I?” floated through the air, unaswered.
I stood to leave
Washed my thankful hands,
Gathered my cornucopia purse, full of blessings.
I walked past the tip jar, paused, then left—
Empty and ashamed.