She never listened to music,
but it was my mother
who took me to my first movie,
Later it was Italians, sandwiching me
in the standing balcony of La Scala
with my backpack between my feet, weeping
at Mimi’s consumption in Boheme.
My New Jersey barber, his shop
blaring Verdi, practically sang
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Turandot
and taken pity on that slave girl.
My wife, practicing piccolo
for the State Opera, taught me
that insidious siren—Iago’s torture
of Otello—a thin, high A. She once played
L’amico Fritz, and when I need a tonic
I watch Pavarotti falling for his maid Suzel
again, their duet, declaring love beneath
an impossibly colorful cherry tree of cardboard.
Eric Braude grew up in South Africa. He won the EagleTribune/Robert Frost Foundation Spring Poetry Contest and wrote the front matter poem for the Grey Court Poets’ anthology Songs from the Castle’s Remains (2013). Braude’s poetry has or will soon appear in Apple Valley Review, Constellations, I-70 Review, J Journal, SoFloPoJo, and Poetica.