Just a note: This poem uses a lot of musical imagery, so if you don't read music, it might not make sense in places. Otherwise: It doesn't flow as well as I feel like it ought to, so please forgive me if parts of it don't seem to ... fit.


1. Overture

They're tuning now with

all the incoherent sounds of anticipation—

better sit down (now please say his eyes, impatient man!).

He takes her arm


and steers her to one side where she

sits in one smooth, legato movement

that still manages to be

reproachful (relax says her hand on his arm).

He smiles,

but it's not a real smile;

just an impatient pluck of a string and

(to be honest)

it's out of tune.

The room gets dark as the

jumbled orchestral sounds

fade into silence—

his hand brushes hers,

his ring catches the dying light

like a perfect diminuendo—

no one's made the slightest sound, but

that's just a breath mark

before the applause.

(Swish says the conductor's baton.)

2. Interlude

Well, just look at the soloist.




and center, but

he's not nervous.

(Pressure and anxiety! says first ending;

(This is his life! says second ending.)


as he lifts his horn—

here it is


3. Fugue

She knew him once,

a few movements ago,

when they were young.

He doesn't know she's here

—does he

(here comes the syncopated beat of apprehension)...?

The man beside her doesn't know

anything about it and

she hopes it stays that way, but

she can't help it as her eyes


accented glances at the man on the stage until she's

startled (!)

by the end of this piece and the roar of applause

like brazen trumpets

in her ears—stop now!

Turn the page!

This is a new piece,

a new composition of her life

(after all, that concert was

a long time ago), so

let the orchestra play on…

4. Dance

She tells herself it's the music.

It's so much easier to

drown in the melody than to

admit to a feeling, so

she tells herself it's the music.

Fall in love with that rhythm and

ignore the hands that balance the horn,

forget about the tip of the tongue

touching the reed, turn away

from the fingers on the keys.

Focus instead on the whole notes

in the score and don't look at

the brown circles of his

eyes. He can't feel her watching

from so far away.

It's not music at all, is it?

Final note ends, practiced hands

lower the baton—

he feels her stare now and

meets it with a dotted-half-note


(he knows now, can't she tell?), and


It's not the music at all.

He turns away,

walks off the stage

(insert staccato footsteps


One (two, three, four). Two (two, three, four). Three (two, three) four-and…

The black-jacketed soloist lets her mind

soar high in a cadenza of nerves

—here comes the double bar line—

as he crosses the last few steps to her

and looks in her eyes…

But wait!

(Don't you see the fermata?)

So thanks for reading, and I hope you liked it!