Along the Staircase                                            

            When we passed along the staircase
            During intermission, crowded and 
            Noisy after the sombre act

            I thought perhaps you hadn’t noticed,
            Hemmed in as we were and going 

            Until that slight turn of your cheek,
            So familiar,
            Just as you reached the landing
            And I disappeared above

            Around me in the hall,
            The red plush chairs slowly filled,
            And I watched every entrance below

            The orchestra began to tune 

            Where were you? And with whom?
            And why, since you hated opera?

            All was din and dark and
            Ordinarily I would have been absorbed
            By the pretended fires onstage,
            But I was sure – or was I?

            Past dirty looks and unyielding knees 
            I stumbled, through a door and 
            Down the stairs I ran 

            The soprano was magnificent in death, 
            Even from the empty lobby
            I could hear her, pausing 

            But it was nighttime air I wanted 
            And your lips drawing blood again,
            Fool that I was, so late

            And my god, there you were 
            Right outside on the steps having a smoke:

            I thought you had quit for good


            Emanuel E. García, Sojourns2014