Duet

If I had the third wish to spare
………………………nobody does
I’d take old Schubert down to a bar
………………………whose piano’s
chipped teeth crash like a brawl
………………………no one applauds,
scales of attrition, sanded-down Braille

spelling out ashtrays & lost loves
………………………& glass-ring stains
like scars the clock-mouthed lamprey leaves
………………………behind, the sign
of the kiss of ever-more-delible life—

Schubert, dead man in a black cravat,
………………………if the hour comes,
I’ll sit you there to sight-read straight
………………………through one-eyed James
Booker’s “Sunny Side of the Street,”
………………………blues of dooms-
day thinking better of whether it ought

to glower & grimace, Sturm und Drang,
………………………or spend itself
instead eternitizing song
………………………hid in the off-
beat, the half light, the grace note, the long

white fingers deep in the black keys,
………………………the hourglass as
high or higher than it ever was,
………………………its gold dust
running, whatever your century is,
………………………the next, the last,
in somebody else’s veins, & fast.

Henry Walters

Henry Walters

Henry Walters is the author of two books of poetry: Field Guide A Tempo, a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and The Nature Thief, a finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, to be published in the fall of 2022 by The Waywiser Press. He is also the translator from Italian of Enrico Testa's Ablativo, winner of the 2013 Premio Viareggio. His work appears in periodicals such as The Threepenny Review, Orion, Literary Imagination, The Yale Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and New Letters. He lives in New Hampshire with his young family, a hawk, and a hive of bees.
Henry Walters

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Author: Henry Walters

Henry Walters is the author of two books of poetry: Field Guide A Tempo, a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and The Nature Thief, a finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, to be published in the fall of 2022 by The Waywiser Press. He is also the translator from Italian of Enrico Testa's Ablativo, winner of the 2013 Premio Viareggio. His work appears in periodicals such as The Threepenny Review, Orion, Literary Imagination, The Yale Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and New Letters. He lives in New Hampshire with his young family, a hawk, and a hive of bees.