The Soloist

If I had the dosh for the pricier tickets
That let me sit up close and personal
So that I could see you behind your piano
When you come to play in the concerto,

I’d stare at your fingers all through the first passage
Despite the orchestral maneuvers—
The brass with its fanfare, those fanciful strings—
I’d hear them while staring at you.

But not you, per se. I’d stare at your hands
As they flutter and pounce on the ivories
Until near the end, when you reach the cadenza
And everything else drops away.

For this part alone, I’d forget your swift hands
(It’s just as well since they’re a blur now).
Here your lips gently move as you wordlessly mumble
The lyrics that only you hear.

It’s something that I saw you do once before
At a rare time you weren’t playing music—
With hands clasped so tightly you mumbled
         so softly
The day that I asked if you’d marry.

You never did answer your humble admirer.
And I haven’t since dared to repeat it.
Or even speak up if I meant ‘marry me.’

David Vandermeer

If you have any thoughts on this poem, David Vandermeer  would be pleased to hear them.