Maryann Corbett: A Private Vice

Caught, again. She’s wacko, you hear them thinking.
Better keep some distance. They’re moving off, but
now they’re wise to your surreptitious habit:
singing Puccini−

Tosca, Mimi−in stairwells. In tile-and-marble
restrooms. Under bridges. Wherever echo
pimps the tone and plumps it, and amps a wimpy,
warbly soprano

up to melting smoothness, all caramel-creamy.
So. They’re out of earshot? Ah, good; but softly.
Can’t let people know you’re a lush, an addict,
drunk on illusions,

high on hushed, theatrical expectation,
undistracted by other sonic blather,
focused on the perfectly reassuring
sound of your own voice.