HUSK 2.1

Even Louis Armstrong Gets the Blues

by Tim Shea

Like a furious star he whales into the night—relatively
still, but still moving. Grunts and mumbles, throat song
voiced to scat, his cries evolve to a woman’s name:
Dinah. As in China, or fine-ah—simple sounds coupled
from the mouth’s dark cave, syllables like freed doves
sprung into the sky. Two notes then. Then six. Then he’s
trumpeting patterns in the air, white handkerchief dangled
from his hand like a loose sail. Who needs wind
with breath like this? Even his neck inflates with what
is not yet song, with what is not yet Dinah Lee sea-bound
from Dixie to the East, her eyes ablaze with bone-white
light lacquering hull and gunwale, and Louis, a black world
rising from white cement piers, his mouth a golden ring
of brass—siren in reverse—calling her back to Carolina.