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Plácido Domingo on the Northbound Train


ISSUE:  Fall 2014

Two seats away, my father watched
the tenor study the world that rumbled
parallel to his window: crumbling
brick, edges of cities sprayed
with overlapping words. The car
was quiet. My father could have said,
Not long ago I saw you play
the King of Spain.
Tough to imagine
my father in those days—shy,
undrafted from a war, distant
as if viewed through opera glasses.
I can see him in old photographs,
leaned against a mirror, the background
blind with reflected light. That year,
critics warned it’s hard on the voice
to be heroic so many nights,
plus matinees. No one could know
how long beauty lasts, least of all
my father in his rented seat,
clutching the stub of a ticket
and watching—the way one might watch
stage lights dim—the great singer
slip theatrically into sleep.

 

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