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.