The Page-turner

The Page-turner

He sits in her shadow, keeps still,
as if he would be as invisible
to us as we are to him,
just his eyes imperceptibly moving

till the end of the page approaches,
when, rising from his chair, he reaches
forward, left-handed, and works
a single sheet free, then waits

for the moment to flip it over.
Pressing it flat with his palm
from below so it won't lift up,
already he's pushed himself back

out of consideration. Again and again.
Till the pianist bows, and he stands
apart disclaiming applause,
head down, holding the music.


from The Man Alone: New and Selected Poems (Smith Doorstop, 2008), first published in Living by the Sea (Smith Doorstop, 2007), © Michael Laskey 2007, used by permission of the author and The Poetry Business.

Recordings

Michael Laskey Reading from His Poems

1Cucumber

2Nowadays

3Family Planning

4Registers

5Living with the Doctor

6On My Own

7Between Two Lit Rooms

8The Clothes-peg

9Rain

10The Flat-warming

11Nobody

12Offering

13Not Before Time

14Fried Potatoes

15Picking Raspberries with My Mother

16Ratatouille

17Breakfast

18Service

19Laying the Fire

20Driving Home

21The Day After

22Afterlife

23Life After Death

24Home Movies

25Permission to Breathe

26The Tightrope Wedding

27Concert

28The Page Turner

29The Right Place

30Not That He Wrote Poems

31Tinkling Cymbal

32The Man Alone

33The Corpse

34The Last Swim