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Alina Stefanescu

Celibidache, Your Mahler Has Followed Me

across continents. On Bourbon street, crepe myrtles scheme
to destroy me in small batches of scattered fuschia. The fallen
is the thing. The not-doing you preached: you let it evolve


into lament by slowing the breath, dimming the breathing.
I disappear, instead, into a boutique, where the cashier’s red
head tracks my movements, her eyes narrowing in

on the wry tan-line, the phantom of a ring on my finger. Please
do not touch the haunted saxophone whose spirit gets spooked
by strangers
she says. The instrument glows alone in its sanctified halo


like a nude cherub who begs for a virgin’s lap, that immaculate
beginning. Unlike you, Sergiu, I cannot be the afternoon’s assassin,
the ruthless adagio, the unscripted echo of feeling ghosted.

I can’t touch the haunted. Even the props in the shop know
better. Even the dog made of chipped plaster was born before
it developed white patches of absent paint on its front paw.

Evolution never resolves. We hear what we want,
and convince the music to believe someone else said
this singed thing first. Your Mahler hounds me.

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