He sits in her shadow, keeps still,
as if he would be as invisible
to us as we are to him,
just his eyes imperceptibly moving
till the end of the page approaches,
when, rising from his chair, he reaches
forward, left-handed, and works
a single sheet free, then waits
for the moment to flip it over.
Pressing it flat with his palm
from below so it won't lift up,
already he's pushed himself back
out of consideration. Again and again.
Till the pianist bows, and he stands
apart disclaiming applause,
head down, holding the music.
from The Man Alone: New and Selected Poems (Smith Doorstop, 2008), first published in Living by the Sea (Smith Doorstop, 2007), © Michael Laskey 2007, used by permission of the author and The Poetry Business.