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Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Art by Jin Suk
Late Quartet

The second violin is a beautiful woman, Korean,
in a skin tight black dress, whose entire
body expresses every note she plays
but the real action, alas, is in the square
suit named Pigeon, the first violin.
The passion that pours from him leaves
him looking unmoved, untouched. His thin
face is pinched into a dead smile while she heaves
and lunges through her dull repeats, repeats.
How contained this storm is, in its little crock.
This crock contains, however, seven oceans
and all the continents except ice-locked
Antarctica, with its penguins, its fabulous narwhal,
its groaning ice, all deplorably unmusical.

Barry Goldensohn has published six poetry collections and numerous essays. His most recent book is a collection of his poems about music, The Listener Aspires to the Condition of Music. He has a summer job at the New York State Writers Institute at Skidmore College. (updated 4/2012)

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