Everyone should have a little fugue, she says, the young conductor taking her younger charges through the saddest of pieces, almost a dirge written for unholy times, and no, not for money. Ready? she tells them, measuring out each line for cello, viola, violin. It will sound to you not quite right. She means the aching half-step of the minor key, no release from it, that always-on-the-verge-of, that repeat, repeat. Everyone should have a little fugue-- I write that down like I cannot write the larger griefs. For my part, I believe her. Little fugue I wouldn't have to count.
Marianne Boruch - 1950-
Snowfall in G Minor
Overnight, it’s pow! The held note keeps falling. And only seems slow. Because it’s just frozen rain, what’s the big deal? the checker in Stop and Shop told me. Save warmth like stamps. The fade of their color in the 1920s. Airmail. The pilot with his skin-tight goggle helmet on his miniature head could be snow-blind. All heads are small. Mine’s lost as a thimble in this weather. Where a finger should be and be sewing, every thought I ever thunk. Just this word thunk. Never used. It lands, noisy metal in a bucket. That’s the last of it. No echo for miles of this snowfall—as in grace, fallen from, as in a great height, released from its promise.