Ghazal, with Piano Bar in Winter

Increase intensity through attention, pressure, weight,
or time, to hear the singing in a higher register—

The same way a threaded button spins faster, looser
or more taut, depending on the varied register

of fingers pulling at the edges. I prefer lower, mellow
notes to shrill, but there is power too in upper registers—

but there must be absolute precision there, no way to flub
the reach by saying, Oh, I was just trying a jazzy register

In the low-lit bar, patrons sent up slips of paper and requests.
But though the pianist crooned his best, not all could register

the depth of feeling poured into a song: something with a blue moon
or a river, the way you looked the night when I first registered

the tilted axis of the room, banal rush of traffic outside in the rain:
unusual warm night in late winter, that too a kind of register.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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