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(Magic Flute, Metropolitan Opera, 2014)

I want to know

as this last of so many curtains

falls on spangled shapes; pin spots; bright moon

shafts piercing velvet dark -- why is it you

who gets the song: that dazzling string

of glorious a capella pearls, flung

at the hall like a great expanding necklace

radiant with power, whose

words reek murderous revenge?

The sun may win, dissolving your deep night

yet it’s your doubled theme that stays.

Beneath the mumbo-jumbo of the play

the score speaks clear -- I want to know

if you suspect (as you press on in your

ferocious quest, soaring past lunar notes

to that fierce B) the gift is retrograde:

all surfaces deceive. To be fulfilled

a self transcending self must be achieved. 

 Version first published as Poem of the Week, Poetica Magazine, 10 August 2015; reprinted in Man Overboard (2018)

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