The Page Turner by John Morris

The Page-Turner 

is understood to be invisible,

perched beyond the lowest octave,
poised, a tense handmaiden, eyes
faithful to the score, ready to release
the hands clenched

 

The Page-Turner

By John Morris

 

The Page-Turner 

is understood to be invisible,

perched beyond the lowest octave,
poised, a tense handmaiden, eyes
faithful to the score, ready to release
the hands clenched

prayerfully in her lap. Pizzicato
cello-strings quiver.  Violin-
and viola-bows leap up, a trio of shuttles
warp-weaving,

the pianist’s fingers threading the weft.
Now the notes are running out of room,
she leans, then she thrusts
a bare arm out

into the loom’s fabric, her fingers
seize the recto corner and freeze. 
Perilous moment!  We are not meant to notice
her, the rapt gaze

fastened on her maestro’s face,
waiting for that cue, impersonal —
curt nod, lofted eyebrow, even a deeper
breath — that gives

permission to the page-turner, that says
Now I need you!, and she performs
so swiftly, all elegance and clarity
in the turning,

accomplished.  Then tacet once more,
waiting, returned beyond the lowest
possibility of sound, to listen,
to watch.  As we watch

what is woven yet can’t be seen,
the beauty calling the quintet
and us to gather — all unseen.
We go home,

make our customary mistakes, confuse
visible signs with invisible grace.
But as sleep deranges us, perhaps
we hear the tapestry

and glimpse a silent turning of the page.

Dead Sea by Alan Dragoo
Origin by Dan Phillips