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July 2015, vol 11 no 2

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Jonathan Shipley

Tchaikovsky’s Fourth


I wanted you to cry, to be honest. You've said my notes and letters have touched you. Touch you. A heart's blood on the fingertips, turning line into line and page into page. Just paper. Just indentations of a pen. Just my wrist on this table. It's more than that. You know it but I don't know what it's like when you read them. You live so far away and I can never see your heart. I don't know what euphoric calamity I cause you as you unfold my words from thin envelopes. My words, posted by warm dawn. Mailed in the cool of night. So, when you came back to visit with your sister, I took you both to the symphony. Different notes, I hoped, I would be able to read on your face in the balcony seats. Tchaikovsky's Fourth. You wept so completely. Holding your sister's hand you didn't look at me once for fear. To be honest, I relished in the hurt I saw in you then, the music swollen and gray.

sparkled snow
there's a wood in Russia
I'll never see


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