Savannah Churchill (August 21, 1920 – April 19, 1974)
Born quietly in a noisy time. Out of the blue. Part of a wonderful plan. Only God knew. Pope Pius XII published the encyclical Luctuosissimi eventus. Pope Pius XII published the encyclical Laetamur admodum. And then Datis nuperrime. And Haurietis aquas. Someone in the balcony boo’d. And flames ate the head. Of the Eiffel Tower.
She could hear his footsteps. Up the hardwood stairs. David at the door. Between her legs. When Brooklyn was filled with sunlight and vanilla ice cream. The smell of combava garlic ginger. Those lovely evenings with her arms wrapped around David’s shoulders. The jingle of glass. The skid of tires. A husband framed in a windshield. David, a window without breath.
Elvis Presley recorded Heartbreak Hotel. In Nashville. In Birmingham. Nat Cole was attacked on a stage by whites. At Mansfield HS, Texas, a white mob prevented the enrollment of black children. A concrete girder weighing 200 tons killed 48 in Karachi, Pakistan.
Savannah. No time for introspection. The sunlight seemed to lighten. No time to punish the thief. Who stole her mornings. A plan was a gentle way. Of removing the stutter. That was the fire. That burned in her breast.
A satin voice. A red velvet dress. Shy fragile shoulders. Evenings spent in hot house bars. With strangers. Music spilling her name in lights. Money and the good life. Almost forgetting why she was there. Almost forgetting… David.
A drunkard ended her career. He fell on her. From the balcony. She was performing in 1956. She succumbed on April 19, 1974. That’s what they wrote. As if it all made sense. Some wonderful plan. Written by a million wise men. Sitting in separate rooms. While outside the stars fade. And the darkness meets the cold. And the largest observed iceberg, 208 by 60 miles, is sighted. Moving up the mighty Mississippi.