In contrast to the pianist
she’s sitting perfectly erect.
Her eyes are focused on the notes
like she’s a marksman poised to shoot
the music printed on the sheet.
And when the work concludes, she smiles,
as if she not just played each bar
but then and there congealed the whole
from fragments forged inside a brain
that now is tempered with relief.
When the pianist leaves amidst
applause, she rises from her seat,
a tree emerging from the floor.
She exits, straight-laced, from the stage,
an apparition dressed in black.
The puppeteers of Bunraku
could hardly be more circumspect.
When the pianist reappears
to play the concert’s final piece,
she trails him with a leisured pace,
as if a bashful confidant
or prissy at a high school dance.
Then, latterly, she takes her seat,
resuming focus on the score,
as if the music on the sheet
flowed from her meditative stare.
I’d think it’s she who pulls the strings
of the pianist who seems poised
to fade into the ivory,
did not the posture of this girl
inform him with its gravity.
For, armored in her two-piece suit,
she leads him in this nimble dance
of fingers on cascading keys.
A pause to thrust subversive strands
of jet-black hair behind her ear
gives substance to insurgent terms
imposed by her protracted stare.
She scans the notes to the last bars
of the piece, hands still on her lap,
as she smiles in approbation,
then disappears amidst applause
for the performer still on stage.