Closing Night


When I am 80, or maybe 85,

I will go to the opera every night.

Dress to the nines, glitter and sheen.

I will know the libretti almost by heart.

Cheap seat or box, I won’t care.


The pit musicians will call me Signora Puccini,

Fräulein Wagner or the Balcony Ghost.

Each will nod at me in his or her own time as they warm up and

tell their neighbor the latest.


One of the trombonists might say to the others

she heard I used to play a mean trombone.

Huh, they will murmur as they rattle off a fast scale,

adjust a reed, or tighten a bow.


The conductor will blow past them quickly

and with the white stick put them under their nightly thrall.

The lights will rise and the opera will begin to sing, flesh will

wobble and buzz.


Costumes will swish and signify. Gestures cut the air, slicing out a

delicious story made from burlap, velveteen, facial hair and crowns.

Jeweled swords will flash. Grave illness hollow a soprano’s eyes.

Death will delineate love beyond all time and space.


I will clap and weep and laugh at myself before I get in the

limousine. Someone will hand me my toddy and I will watch the

young repopulate the earth as I am driven back to my sanctuary

for my aged self.


I won’t think of what I could have done in my life.

I won’t think of what I didn’t accomplish or finish.

No. I will be past all that. I will be in cahoots with the immortals

and have taken their advice to keep the mind silent. Silent about

things of which it knows nothing. I will hum the last lilting sorrow

of the last act of the opera and feel its sweetness in my whole body.


Then I will lay me down to dream.


January 13th, 2013

Talhausen , Germany