Remembering Your Smile

February 1, 2002

While there is still time before memory begins its long revision, I want to preserve the way you looked the night of my fiftieth birthday when the band played Not Fade Away. You stood with your hand held tight on the center pole of the tent and leaned toward me on stage, your body dying and rocking to the music, your round face creased in that generous smile I always loved, lips curled high at the corners, eyes narrowed to sharpen he focus of your joy.

for David Raskin, M.D. (1937-2000)


While there is still time
before memory begins its long revision,
I want to preserve the way you looked
the night of my fiftieth birthday
when the band played Not Fade Away.
You stood with your hand held tight
on the center pole of the tent
and leaned toward me on stage,
your body dying and rocking to the
music,
your round face creased in that
generous smile
I always loved, lips curled high at
the corners,
eyes narrowed to sharpen the focus
of your joy.

Music fades away so fast.
The meadow where we danced
is frozen now and covered with snow.
The piano that knew your hands
waits for someone else's touch.
Your paint brushes have dried,
and ink on a thousand reports turns
pale.
But your slender smile lives
the way music lives in the clarinet
you placed on red velvet lining,
waiting for someone to click open
the lock on the leather case,
moisten the thin reed with their lips,
and blow a few sweet notes into the
air.