The Coltrane Substitution (Naima) by Michelle R. Smith
Jazz musicians are forgiven
The sin of several wives,
But their marriages
Must not be menial.
They must be art—
Ballads of rich, wrenching chords.
I eased the needle from his arm.
I prayed over his dumbed fingers.
I am the then-wife.
A tune built on suspended chords.
I am a pedal point—
The note that does not fit.
Michelle R. Smith is a mother, daughter, writer, teacher, lover, fighter, seeker, finder, sister, and outsider, living and working in Twinsburg, Ohio. She has had poems published in Poemmemoirstory, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, and Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal. Her first published volume of poetry is Ariel in Black on Guide to Kulchur (GTK) Press.