Deaf. Crotchety.
An engraving shows him
walking in the woods,
head down, hands held
behind his back, hair just
this side of electric,
listening with dead
ears to the music
in his mind.

The musicians nail it,
channel the dark, rich
sound born in Beethoven’s
brain, notes flowing
somber and grand down
through time to the players,
strings receiving them
with resonance, with
something like awe.

Opus 135, last of the last,
tranquil, tumultuous, final.
Must it be? It must be.
Asked and answered
in the German text.
Outside the sun is low
in the afternoon sky.
We will play it again
before dark.

Sally Zakariya’s poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals and have won prizes from Poetry Virginia and the Virginia Writers Club. She is author of Insectomania (2013), and Arithmetic and other verses (2011). She was editor of Joys of the Table: An Anthology of Culinary Verse. Zakariya blogs at