For an Unwritten Opera by Frank Bidart
Because it is the sixteenth, and Bach’s Air happens to be playing. I would have drank wine as I try to wax philosophical about your ghost, but the reality is: this is pathetic; I am pathetic. Someday my poor heart will redeem itself.
For an Unwritten Opera
Once you had a secret love: seeing
even his photo, a window is flung open
high in the airless edifice that is you.
Though everything looks as if it is continuing
just as before, it is not, it is continuing
in a new way (sweet lingo O’Hara and Ashbery
teach). That’s not how you naturally speak:
you tell yourself, first, that he is not the air
you need; second, that you loathe air.
As a boy you despised the world for replacing
God with another addiction, love.
Despised yourself. Was there no third thing?
But every blue moon the skeptical, the adamantly
disabused find themselves, like you,
returned to life by a secret: like him, in you.
Now you understand Janácek at
seventy, in love with a much younger
married woman, chastely writing her.
As in Mozart song remains no matter how
ordinary, how flawed the personae. For us poor
mortals: private accommodations. Magpie beauty.