You used to sing me Kumbaya at night so I could sleep, sitting on the edge of the bed where I lay, always on the left side, hugging the corner of the mattress. I don’t know why I liked the left side, but I did.
You were a real singer, or at least I thought you were, or had been at some time; your voice warm and gentle, with perfect rises and perfect falls.
Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya.
It was a song we sort of laughed about in later years: Oh, remember that? So long ago. What does it even mean?
I still sleep on the left side of the bed, though I hadn’t heard it in a while. I hated you for a long time. You were so good to me.
A month ago you and I found ourselves sitting on a dirt slope at an orphanage in Uganda, not really knowing how or why. The orphans were playing on our laps, so many of them—2, 3, 4 of them piling on our stomachs as we lay, hugging them, letting it all happen. They played with our hair; a boy, the one you joked about adopting, fixed your shirt so your cleavage wouldn’t show. I was filming. You laughed and I think the laugh turned into a cry. We looked out into the hills and sang; I was sitting on the left side. We made harmony.
Come by here, my Lord, Come by here.