Unexpected Presence On Christmas Eve, by Catherine Lee at Spillwords.com

Unexpected Presence On Christmas Eve

Unexpected Presence On Christmas Eve

written by: Catherine Lee


How do you date the onset of union?
A first kiss wetting on West Paterson NJ
jazz bar stair? or before? —
the poetry foretold itself, somebody else’s poem.

Prior to that private reading we bought each other drinks
ambiguous, in the Christmas spirit
with just a hint of icebreaker.

Our eyes met before that, even
across the piano, six candle-lit, calico tablecloths,
and the shoulder of an unsuspecting 
Scotch-and-soda drinker.

Haven’t I seen you someplace before? Boston, perhaps?
Your gait was familiar
the tune — love for sale indeed —
but I could barely place the name
put finger on a place.

Funny you should ask
did I see 
        Lee Morgan’s piano player
        Max Roach’s, Freddy Hubbard’s,
        Dexter Gordon’s, Woody Shaw’s, Johnny Griffin’s 
but that night Bobby Hutcherson’s
piano player’s shortish, deft, delicate, and
elegantly sensual bi-toned hands.
That time I thought
I was sitting close enough.

But my dear good man
to date the onset of our union, to chart the conception —
when an initial date would be in fact reunion —
I regret
to admit
I don’t yet know you well enough.

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