Front Porch Review
The old gentleman sits by himself
in the dimmed light
at his favorite corner table in the jazz club,
keeping warm on a bitter cold winter night,
and listening to the trio play,
All the Things You Are,
a sensuous and tenderhearted song.
And that’s just fine by him.
It’s a piece he liked to play on the piano
when his arthritic hands didn’t betray his efforts
to bring to life Jerome Kern’s lovely melody.
It’s this piece that reminds him of his wife
who passed away two or three years ago.
Although, now, he’s not entirely certain.
Often, he can’t recall how long he’s been alone
and that’s when, he feels her presence,
and he thinks she may not have left at all.
It’s in these fleeting moments
that he hears her voice so clearly
that he finds himself speaking out loud to her.
And now, in the last year or so, he sees her
for just a moment. Usually it’s late at night,
sometimes she’s sitting in a chair,
looking at him from across the room,
or she’s passing by the bedroom door.
I should talk to someone about this,
he finds himself saying aloud
as the trio takes the lush, intricate music
for an improvised walk around the room.
I’ll make an appointment next week
and talk to the doctor, he thinks
as he sips the last of his drink
and sits back and is carried away to a time
when the air was warm and his wife was near,
just as she is now, sitting close to him,
listening to the music, and keeping time
with her translucent hand on the table near his.
Terry Allen was born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1946 to an American father and Australian mother. Arriving in the United States on a Liberty ship, he grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Time passed, as it will do, and he retired as a professor of Theatre Arts after teaching acting, directing and playwriting for thirty-eight years. Now, he spends time writing poetry and is the author of the chapbook Monsters in the Rain and three full-length poetry collections: Art Work, Waiting on the Last Train and Rubber Time. He currently lives in Columbia, Missouri, with his wife Nancy, also a poet, and their dog Jayden. His poetry has appeared in many journals and has been nominated for an Eric Hoffer Book Award, a Best of the Net Award and a Pushcart Prize.