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Word trickled down the aisle that he had died.
My first response: how did they even know?
Grief was an afterthought. He’d long been gone;
had only just sufficiently revived
to totter to his feet and say hello
(or else goodbye)”impossibly removed,
frail, struggling to sit or stand or speak.

The rumor rippled down my little row,
but soon the audience at the recital
recomposed itself. The music closed
like water over a floundering swimmer’s head,
filling the lacuna in the chair,
braiding an order in attentive air,
cleansing us of the news that he was dead.