Glen Miller and Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson
were all there, among the potted palms, the silent auction
the speeches of water in a village in Nigeria
the jewels and tuxedos and the Bishop and
a Monsignor sang the blues and we all danced
and drank and ate beautifully prepared
chicken and stuffed tomatoes and ballasted potatoes
delectably presented on hot china.
Somehow, the image of June Allyson
hung over all the grey heads
jiving and swinging
to the hot howling
of the trombones.
The slide show of drilling in the dusty little village
and paying the bills and getting water flowing
from a deep artesian well otherwise inaccessible
made the whole thing inaccessible:
most of us hadn’t a clue
we were there for villagers’ water;
somebody on the phone sold us a ticket.
Yes, they told us we were wonderful
but it felt like wonder by accident.