Afternoon Recital

A poem


His new tux top had white stains
on the right sleeve near the wrist,
the side facing the audience,
paint left wet some place he'd not
noticed, small stains an inch apart
but bright as eggshells. We tried
not to stare or say a word but sat,
adult, waiting in the warm chapel,
crisply attentive when he began
to play the Bach
. He played
hard, young hands rising to music's
power, letting Bach
know he knew,
finishing it winded, half standing,
breathing fast and deep, still full
of the notes and all they're worth.
No one could see or hear a stain
Garland Strother

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