POEM: Grace Note

Death in the back of a jazz club.
Low lights
Glass of red wine on the table
Cheap
All his cash spent on a Cadillac.
The band plays on without him
Crooning their eulogies in the night
A woman weeps into her martini.
Old men laugh and flick cigar ash
Onto the floor.
They’ve been here a dozen times before –
Life goes on, they say and toast his memory.
One wipes a tear from his cheek
Remembering a tune
Squeezed from his saxophone
Some night last year when the snow had settled
Turned to mush under ten thousand feet.
The singer’s voice breaks.
She stands beneath the stage lights and taps her foot
While the man in the back
Slumped over the table with his eyes
Fixed on the door
Darkens
As the candle burns down.
In an hour
Or two
They’ll call the police
To stomp around this sacred place
In big black boots.

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