Alice O. Howell   


Trio Recital in Santa Maria del Giglio:



                                    Did you notice

                        the young man in the too-long wrinkled jacket

                        listening to the flute notes

                                    leaping up the hushed dim of space?


                                    He had a deformity

                        and his hair fell over a frown –

                            he gripped the back of wood chair in front of him

                        he gripped it all through the Albinoni

                                    until the veins of pain could stand it no more.


                                    When the applause gently splattered the air

                        chairs scraped and coughs echoed through the grey domed cool

                            he got up, our eyes met briefly and he limped off –

                                    you were holding my hand

                                                which the intelligent Venetian ladies next to you

                        observed with thin smiles –


                        your white head was thrown back, your dear eyes were closed

                              still, it seemed, sharing the dream of  the flute


                                    I think you missed him

                        but he saw us old and still happy –

                                                we did not know each other’s story:

                             we became part of his pain

                        and he became part of the Vivaldi, which followed.