Seeing Music

by Linda Cooper


What happens when music grows legs
and walks around the room, picking

lint off a lapel, or sweeping glass
from a shelf? And the reverse,

the embroidered hem of a bathmat
transforms into staves and clefs, ornamentation,

sharps and flats. Cracks in the wall. The text
of an obituary. All is music, everywhere, notations

altering each second into another song.
Play the notes and it is incoherent nonsense,

but it is in dissonance that we discover
the brilliant. The wasp struggling

to be free of a web. A lash evading
capture in a glassy eye. A leaky

syringe catching light. For a composer, the great
symphony is termed genius only after death.

Before that, a jumble of chords and crashing
slurs. Patrons run out into the street, covering their ears.

Linda Cooper lives in Ronald, Washington and teaches creative writing at Washington Outdoor School. She completed her MFA at Eastern Washington University and her poems have been published in Verse Daily, Hayden’s Ferry Review, West Branch, Many Mountains Moving, Willow Springs, Third Coast, Tupelo Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Permafrost, Hubbub, Elixir, Diner, Pontoon, and many more. She also won the 2015 Orlando Prize for Poetry and the 2022 Allied Arts Foundation Prize. Her chapbook, Blue, a Waltz, will be published by Floating Bridge Press in 2023.