After the Music

Praise the Zoom call.
You’re on mute, love!
Can’t hear you —

(secretly) Praise (the bad) connection.

Praise our home offices, our home schools,
our home gyms, our closed bars, our kitchen dances,
our cooking fails, our odd jobs. Our rented
U-Hauls. Our promises to stay.

In a workshop (online, duh), my friend Dorsay,
a resplendent seventy five, crowned in Diana Ross curls,
shares her poem: butterflies, a lover’s caress
and then — Why should I not want to just die?

She seeded concerts across the city for decades.
Now, it’s impossible to sing together. Everyone is slightly
out of time. What happens after the music?
We gape and stammer, but Dorsay —

she booms laughter, claps her hands.
We’re here aren’t we? However we gather,
it’s a party. Our face parade, through lag and crash, and latency,
logging on against erasure. I’ll be there

next week, writes Dorsay. A late night promise.
The next morning, bougainvillea shocks pink
across the sidewalk. I leave the Russian bakery
with a loaf of black Borodinsky rye.

Praise the long walk, with no end. The right now.
Our newly fragiled bodies.
That awkward, grateful way we hold each other
at any distance.

Copyright © 2020 Brian Sonia-Wallace. This poem originally appeared as The City of West Hollywood's 2020 holiday poem. Used by permission of the author.