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Wrinkled Coloratura

Linda Rogers
From:   Hard Candy. Sono Nis, 1994. p.38


In the photo by Man Ray
which the bass player keeps in his studio,
the woman is undressed.
By now, I realize she would be old,
but then she was perfect,
a French twist in her hair,
her naked back lovely and strong.
She is wide in the hips.
her sound holes look like
exquisite birthmarks.
Maybe Man Ray imagined them,
his camera loving her like a bow,
the way the bass player touches his ancient
appassionata, Miss Amati,
the way he admires her skin
and excellent tone,
her girlish pirouette
on one high heel.
E anche vecchia, Miss Amati,
but she sings better now, for him.

When he caresses her,
I close my eyes and imagine
naked women all over the world
revealing strings and frets
flared and resonant thighs,
the low pitched shape of female love.
I think of Man Ray getting old, his model
curling and yellowing in his hands.
I think of you at night
with your ear on my belly,
my wrinkled coloratura sister
singing better than ever for you.

The man sitting beside me at the concert said
you play music the way some men have sex,
but he has only heard you on the mandolin.



Linda Rogers's works copyright © to the author.


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