We are sitting together.
The theater is dark, but not oppressive of light.
I’m in pinned clothing, too well for my taste,
but I’m comfortable, well warm
and able to sink into the seams of my jacket,
as well as into the seams of your hand,
clasped gently like a cloth strap
around a diary of touch.
On stage, a piano sings beneath the performer,
a man who strokes the music from it.
His fingers sooth the savage beast of silence
and pulls beautifully inconsolable strains
from its heavy lungs.
The lied echoes mournfully,
but it’s as a graceful widow,
dressed crisply in sorrow’s shining vestments.
And I am him, for a time, the musician.
I am there, on stage, my face is shadowed,
but the lights ignite my black-clothed back,
and my fingers are his too,
each one pointing to a sound,
to empty its contents and saturate the room
with liquid seasons:
Autumn lake, a breeze hair stirring.
Winter tree, no thoughts occurring.
Spring then lost, uncertainty.
Summer hot, is not to be.
I am sitting.
My bones groan.
Suddenly, where have you gone?
I’m on my feet.
Each sole pounds a meter
against the poignant melody,
terribly sad - lead driven into my knees
with each step.
The door to a storm - I throw open.
Heavy, pounding rain.
Ignorant of the earth below it,
which never shares its pain;
for it has felt storms before.
Where are you? Are you out here?
There you are, clutching the stem of an umbrella.
It’s over your head, like Jonah’s shelter,
as he waited for Nineveh to burn.
Do you share his damning eyes?
The water, though in the air, is a trench between our camps,
and you, you are the ghost of a fallen comrade.
I call out to you; for surely, you can’t be passed,
just yesterday you ran alongside me; you can’t be passed.
But the rain is too loud. It’s always above my cries.
It grows louder, louder, and louder.
It flows from me and so drowns my voice.
You are a shadow.
I am laden,
and my kin,
the hypocrite, Apollo,
disguised as placid ambition,
has turned your skin into bark,
still so beautiful from afar,
and rough to the touch.