- An Invisible Violin with Perfect Pitch
This sky, constructed of cirrus spires,isn't so much a skyas one of Calvino's invisible cities.
The women of this cityno one's ever been able to repeat the name of
do not walk, Marco Polo might have said,they waltz, and the perpetual musicthat defines the grace of their bodies
is the same music men hum in their sleepand listen to in cars, the windows down,admiring women dancing across the street
as they wait for the one red light to changeand then drive off, slow,
remembering women who are still in sightand dancing to the music they listen to.
In this city that's not a sky, MarcoPolo sets down his maps and the Khan's atlas
and raises an invisible violin with perfect pitchto his chin to stroke out a waltz
that keeps time with the women who danceand make him weep for the lossof every city he meant to make it to. [End Page 518]
Marco Polo weeps and plays an invisible waltz,knowing he'll never leave this unnamed city
where the very streets take up his music,women out and waltzing everywhere. [End Page 519]
George Looney's most recent books are Monks Beginning to Waltz, A Short Bestiary of Love and Madness, Open Between Us, and the award-winning novella Hymn of Ash. He is chair of the BFA in Creative Writing program at Penn State Erie, editor in chief of the literary journal Lake Effect, translation editor of Mid-American Review, and codirector of the Chautauqua Writers' Festival.