Today you let the screeching screen-door slam
and bounce in thuds against the door-jamb,
thuds that grew more dull and slow before they died.
The only sound that stayed behind
was your transistor radio
crackling somewhere in between the morning news
and the Benny Goodman Trio...
"Sweet Sue, just you..."
So Grove House mornings always went:
you cycling off, bell sporadic, side-vents
flapping on the leather seat,
trouser cuffs tucked in mismatched socks,
back in minutes to collect the books
you forgot to pack and didn't even read.
Only to lose my place, or forget the key, And almost doubt the very metronome...
—Donald Justice, "The Pupil"
Near the end of Schumann's "Humoreske"
you leaned across the armrest
and in a whisper asked
me what "Zum Beschluß" meant.
I touched your elbow to say hush
for something in the B-flat major
exposition started sounding minor,
sadder with the sudden rush
of sinking notes in treble clef
whilst the bass grew mute, bereft.
You sighed: Pollini turned one quarter rest
into a half: that time made me rest
my pen and paper on the parquet floor
and stop writing any more.
U.S. DHUGA is a professor of Classics at Calvin College. His book Choral Identity and the Chorus of Elders in Greek Tragedy was published through Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in the series Greek Studies: Interdisciplinary approaches (2011).