Isaac Stern's Performance

Hilda Raz
Copyright © Hilda Raz

Here plants-gold and dry-rustle up
green at soil's edge.
Music roils in the room
where I wait, my chest holding even
at the scar's edge.

Whatever chances I took
paid off and now I have only
the rest of my life to consider
Once it was a globe, an ocean
to cross, at least a desert-
now a rivulet, or a blowhole.

I remember it was like a story,
Rampal said on the radio.
He told you the Beethoven concerto.
I am telling you cancer.

I am telling you like moisture
at soil's edge after winter, or
the bulb of the amaryllis you brought
raising stem after stem from cork dirt,
one hybrid flower after another unfurling
for hours, each copper petal opening its throat so
slowly, each shudder of tone-mahogany, coral, blood-
an ache, orgasm, agony, life.