(Video, c. 1986)

She likes my tie
better than my playing
he says, embarrassing
young escorts struck mute
by the magisterial aura
of greatness. It’s quite a bow-tie:
floppy, purple, white dots
upstaging his faintly amused
liverish face – a comic companion
to the cardigan he wears
against the Evil Eye.

Then he leans into a ballade.
The bland lidded glance becomes a
rapier, probing. Hands that seem small
span octaves, flat on the keys
in ways decades of teachers have
warned not to imitate. Cadenzas
spin out in paradox —
sonorous yet light, as though struck
by feathers. A final flourish:
the swoop and filigreed rush

of ballet. He rises,
suddenly frail. She still likes
my tie better he smiles, picking
his way through practice chairs.
A dazzling arc —
sun through an opened door
perhaps; or Apollo passing —
bleaches the view.

MICHAEL H. LEVIN is a lawyer, solar energy developer and writer based in Washington DC, HIs work has appeared on stage and in chapbooks, anthologies and numerous periodicals, and has received poetry and feature journalism awards. See www.michaellevinpoetry.com