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The Trumpeter


No one noticed his brown eyes,

receding hairline, or the goatee

poking out of his chin.

He was only ever the trumpet he played.

On stage, that was understandable.

His mouth was wide open and brass.

His fingers, valve slides and buttons.

But, even on the street,

he was only recognized

as a conveyance for his instrument,

a wind machine

for some of the sweetest notes ever blown.

That’s how he saw himself as well.

Slumped in a chair after a show,

that trumpet on his lap,

he shrunk to the size

and function of a spit key.

He well understood the two kinds of “solo.”

One corralled an audience

in its audacity, melody and flair.

The other trudged home alone.