And then he would lift this finest of furniture to his big left shoulder and tuck it in and draw the bow so carefully as to make the music almost visible on the air. And play and play until a whole roomful of the sad relatives mourned. They knew this was drawing of blood, threading and rethreading the needle. They saw even in my father's face how well he understood the pain he put them to--his raw, red cheek pressed against the cheek of the wood . . .
And in one stroke he brings the hammer down, like mercy, so that the young bull's legs suddenly fly out from under it . . . While in the dream he is the good angel in Chagall, the great ghost of his body like light over the town. The violin sustains him. It is pain remembered. Either way, I know if I wake up cold, and go out into the clear spring night, still dark and precise with stars, I will feel the wind coming down hard like his hand, in fever, on my forehead.
From Out-of-the-Body Travel by Stanley Plumly. Copyright © 1974, 1975, 1976 by Stanley Plumly. Reprinted by permission of The Ecco Press.