Everyone should have a little fugue, she says,
the young conductor
taking her younger charges through
the saddest of pieces, almost a dirge
written for unholy times, and no,
not for money.
Ready? she tells them, measuring out
each line for cello, viola, violin.
It will sound to you
not quite right. She means the aching half-step
of the minor key, no release
from it, that always-on-the-verge-of, that
Everyone should have a little fugue--
I write that down like I cannot write
the larger griefs. For my part, I
believe her. Little fugue I wouldn't
have to count.