The Song He Plays

He is losing his magic.

He flexes his fingers,

As if that could save him.

He must know by now.

We all must.

That does not stop us

From looking on in amazement,

The whole roomed filled up

With anticipation.

We have watched him play

A thousand times.

We never seem to tire

Of the way he moves.

The first note rings out

And we have lost our breath.

He forges onward,

Eyes shut in concentration.

The way he carries himself,

You would think he was born for this.

But he is losing his magic—

I see it in his face.

When the piece is finished,

He stands with a flourish.

His coattails brush over

The brownwood polish of the bench.

He takes his bow.

We take a stand.

Our applause is not enough

To fill up his empty eyes.

Up on that stage,

He looked defeated.

He looks as if the whole world

Lies on the arch of his shoulders.

Perhaps it does,

And we cannot see.

There are many things we do not see.

There are many things we cannot see.

It is I who will hold him

When the nightmares prey his sleep,

And the agony

Has eclipsed his soul.

I will walk with him

Through the crowds of fans

Who shout his name

And snatch at his collar.

They are captivated

By his magic

Even though it continues

To flicker, flicker, gone.

It is I who will kiss him

To distract him from the pain,

And the sting of what has gone

And what will never return.

Our apartment is large,

And empty, and cold.

We spend our days in it,

Slowly withering away.

He sits at his piano

And practices a thousand times.

He is losing his magic.

I take one look in his eyes,

And see that he knows,

And that he knows that I know.

I practice nothing and have nothing;

It is why he loves me.

I have nothing to make me run;

With him I am safe.

He must think me a traitor,

That his fame is the only thing

That keeps me chained

To his side.

He does not know I love him.

There are things he cannot know.

In his misery,

He becomes a god.

His pieces weave magic back into the world,

Breathes life back into the apartment.

If I said those words:

A simple, “I love you.”

Surely he would be happy

And lose his godliness.

So I keep my distance,

Love him only from the stage.

He thinks I am a traitor;

There are things he cannot know.

The world continues praising him:

His looks, his virtuoso.

I keep my mouth shut

And my eyes closed

Through the flashing camera lights

And the talk, and the gossip.

My love is a silent one,

Though his love is loud.

Each chord the piano strikes

Strikes up a chord within me.

I love him, I love him;

He loves me too.

The song he plays is proof;

It is given eternal life.

But when the final note rings out,

Our love is dead again.


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