Between deco ornamented buildings
and sky cleaving steel
saxophones sway,
next to turned up hats,
belting tunes of jazz
and heated blues.

People pass by,
busses rev and stop,
breakfast stands dot sidewalks
among a rhythmic flow of feet.

From pointed peaks,
a tired tower lets go
of a grand adornment.
It falls upon a father,
as he walks
next to his 4 year old daughter
crushing his head
while her body stands sound
and the music lies silent.

Between motorized doors
and curtain veils
the emergency room band
cuts in
with practiced songs
and winged solos
where players take their turns.

Ambulances often howl first,
with escalating phrases,
signaling to the band
its turn is coming soon
to play its set list
for your father.

Between the count of vital signs
we roll him into our music hall.

Raised instruments surround him
with compressing beats
and monitor beeps
in the trauma bay,
as his cerebrum spills
onto the gurney,

as a cacophony of called out observations,
reservations
that his pupils are fixed
that your life is now unfixed
and my eyes are transfixed
upon you,

because until then, for me,
the anatomy lab was the place of fiercely empty looks,
caught in a moment
of final separation
from others like you,

as displays
voice a
slowing
last beat.

Between breaths
of sorrow and wonder,
steps away from center stage
and the retreating band,
a nurse holds your hand
sits you on her lap
lullabies into your ear,
the songs that come from staring unabashedly
at dislodged stones and bones,

with notes from which
I still hear the rhythm
of a little girl’s steps
imagining
next to whom
she may now
be walking.