Elina Petrova

Give me the least inspiring subject
and I’ll write a poem whose happiness
won’t fail in complexity. Like now: rain
pours. Andrés Orozco-Estrada—high
on caffeine before conducting Dvořák’s
7th in D minor—sleeks his wavy black hair
backstage at Stude Hall, changes the brown
Ralph Lauren shirt that doesn’t match his pale
determined face. I wait outside, taking photos
from afar behind a stranger in black, resting
against the vertical aperture of James Turrell’s
Twilight Epiphany—the grassy, truncated
pyramid’s atrium under the illuminated
roof with clouds in its opening.
In my forties, I’m in a way sixteen—
the same sixteen when I thought I’d soon
meet someone who celebrates rain like I do,
that life should resist the adjective “lukewarm”—
the word Andrés teases his orchestra
on rainy, unenthusiastic Mondays.
Drenched, I lean against a student’s bicycle
to snap pictures, anticipating Andrés’s
conducting fiesta—his grasshopper’s leap
in the tight Nehru jacket, and that impulse
akin to my naïve, explosive happiness—
duende of cherry blossoms under swollen
graphite sky that rains into this poem
where the stranger in the atrium stares
at the courtyard of Rice’s School
of Political Science; the woodwind section
straightens music stands for cross-rhythms
of Dvořák’s furiant dance, and my hands
adjusting the objective lens at Epiphany
are wet, but never lukewarm.

Poems used with permission of the authors, and may not be re-used without their permission.