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  • The couple in front of me has fallen asleep. The couple, as a singular:
    yin and yang of the same soul. Their bodies move as they inhale, exhale in unison.
    Do they dream each other? So that when only one is asleep, the other watches her
    anxiously, for fear of disappearing? And when they are both awake, they eye each other
    like strangers? The moment of truth arrives with the fall of a leaf, upsetting the man's
    balance: "Honey," he says, looking over toward her, lifting his head.
    With a sigh, she stirs, but sleeps on.

    A lady in a pink flowing dress, motionless, like a still-life.
    I see her from the back. The umbrella she holds is pink and ruffled,
    like certain African violets that are in danger of being over-watered.
    Her elbows are thin and leathery, like a horse whip.
    Her stature is shrinking, as though to acquire the nimbleness of jockeys,
    but that choice of career is out: the umbrella will be in the way.
    Horses, I'm told, are quite sensitive to objects in their peripheral vision.
    I cannot tell if she talks to a friend, or just gauges the distance to the orchestra, the angle
    of the sun, or the likelihood of running into a friend
    whose name she has forgotten.

    The twelve-year old girl grows as I watch: she keeps pulling her shorts this way and that.
    Her body must hurry to catch up with the perfection of her eyebrows and lips,
    the coolness with which her grey eyes regard the play-cards, looking for an oracle.

    The two fat men next to me share a chicken, and one says to the other,
    "here it comes," referring to the famous cadence in the second movement of the third
    piano concert. The one next to me starts humming along but is shushed by his wife.

    We are at the bottom of this ocean, fish swim by in graceful formations. This one
    has a thousand fins made of quicksilver, and this one has eyes on its tail
    and swims backwards. And what about the elephant fish, almost invisible, all wrapped in
    its ears, vacuuming the sandy floor with its delicate trunk?


    This poem appeared in OFFCOURSE, but without the opportunity to put it together with a picture. My thanks to COWBIRD, which makes it possible now. The picture is from the Tanglewod all-Mozart performance, this past Sunday.
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