Will Clemens

Outside my Honda, under my umbrella,
Dad took my elbow like a wizard’s wand
to move the curbs and puddles from our path.
Indoors, the marble floor was slick with drops,
but Dad, his view eclipsed by retinitis,
wore his rubber-soled Bostonians,
my arm a guide wire to our seats, where silence
shaped the tuning to a cough and whisper.
The sudden tapping of the maestro’s steps
across the stage echoed with applause.
He said, “The good news is the Ark is here;
the bad news is there’s only room for two of us.”
We laughed. He led the way into The New World.
Dvořák’s ode to Spillville, Iowa,
gave Ma a chance to rock like Brother Ray.
The rondo boomed into a standing O.
Ma calmed us down and said that he would play
a solo piece called “Appalachia Waltz,”
with Maestro on Tai Chi. Dad couldn’t see
the maestro’s pushing hands or yin-yang feet
but could have imaged them from Navy days
in Hong Kong when his retinas were lit
like Chinese lanterns, soon to flicker out.
Along the street, that bluegrass in our heads,
Dad’s fingers on my arm to Wu-Li dance
across the rain-swept parking lot, he says,
“That concert was the best I’ve ever seen.”