karaoke night at the elkhorn

half-glimpsed shadows in neon
a winter forest of small-town faces
the lined ones who never got
15 minutes
the young ones who never will

the grinning emcee with the microphone
calls out their names like a lottery
playing background to their dreams
of being noticed

one by one   by one   by one
they weave through crowded tables
and sing
their raw voices straining
to reach the spotlight

@ 1996
Daryl Hrdlicka