As Conducted by Seiji Ozawa


Eight p.m. and an extended vowel
sounds from the pit, instruments
braying, sustaining the nasal
pitch of the audience. When
Massey Hall quiets, a spotlight sets
beyond its seats, and farther
back, porters place bets
on whether a gaffer will fall
from the rigging. My father
sits in the mezzanine. He practises
bruising his hand with his fist
as if he were damping a trombone—
in and out with mock innocence,
so like his son, getting it wrong.

This appeared in the June 2016 issue.

Jim Johnstone won a CBC Poetry Prize and has published four collections of verse.

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