Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


The First Recital

in Culture by

It’s not much, just one room, but it is illuminating to me because I know where they come from.
I know a little bit better who they are.
– Cornelia Vertenstein


Small window, blue light.
No shade. Motion, music,
voices of children.

Ninety-two years old,
Nellie touches the surface,
peeks inside each home.

Are they ready yet?
Her many pupils dilate,
seen. Light on the screen:

pixilated sight,
a measured score unfolding
for her practiced ear.

Eighty-eight old bones
wake beneath the touch of young
fingers; light, feathers.

Sonatina. Six
Variations on Duet.
Prelude. Minuet.

Small window. Blue light.
Nellie’s silver iPad glows
Bach, Haydn, Faber,

“No Moon Tonight.” One
by one, home by home: children
step to their benches.

Nellie’s eyes are closed,
video off. She listens
to memory’s light,

unmutes the applause.



Michael Quattrone is the author of the chapbook, Rhinoceroses (New School, 2007). His poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry blog, New York Quarterly and Barrow Street, as well as anthologies like the Best American Erotic Poems, and the Incredible Sestina Anthology.


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