Each night I made my way to the wings,
to hear the tenor sing The Flower Aria
at the Royal Alexandara Theatre. So
close in the wings I could smell
the onion sandwich on his breath
as his voice soared for “un seul desire...
un seul espoir... O ma Carmen...” Close
enough to see where Eva let out
The stitches on his doublet so he
could make the high C each night.
I was young and a bullfighter then.
Soaring on Bizet’s splendid staircase,
in love with the mezzo on the far side
of the stage. She loved the baritone.
Or was it the conductor? No matter,
she sang Boheme in my shower.
Idedicate this poem, not to her,
she married the conductor, but
to Don Jose, downstage right,
braid flashing, beading sweat, his
heart in every note of “La fleur que te
ma jette...” clutching tight the prop
rose that carried all my hopes.