Air

2012

AIR

Summer’s heat so baked the day
That every breath of wind had sighed to stillness.
With evening,
The bustle of the city slipped
To desultory, languid business.
Even the whine of sirens was left
As careless as an ice-cream vendor’s jangling chorus.
Talk, seeping from restaurants and bars, stalled.
Windows, from mansions and rented rooms,
Thrown wide
To coax inside the dying day’s last breath,
Leaked privacy.
Confidences, confessions, stern invective
And brittle laughs,
Discarded against flickering snatches of television chatter,
Evaporated under the clammy weight of dusk
Until…

Whether or not the music was of her own composing,
It matters little.
Under her bow, each note swelled and rose
(A bubble holding its warbling sac of air,
Buoyed by some imperceptible drift
Long enough to sing through its emerald-amethyst film
Until the colours curdled to a dull sheen)
Lingered on the ear for a final moment
Before the skin thinned to bursting.
The notes spun themselves, like blown gossamer,
Across the city in a web
No more melodious
Than the barbed shards of sound,
Trilled by garden songsters breaking open the morning,
But brilliant.
Her primal air stirred all who heard it,
Lifting them above the drum and hum,
Dispelling the echoes of a grosser living,
Lightening the night.

There was a quickened breathing:
A fresh breeze ruffled the leaves.