Sandra Noel


It’s 3:00 a.m.
as you step outside for one more cigarette
in a cold corner of the night
before heading home.
It’s raining again in Seattle
so you let the wet pavement put it out
wondering how you got here
playing Irish reels instead of Mozart
and if your violin minds playing fiddle
but no she doesn’t, for she is the truest love
you’ve ever known or let yourself know
in forty years of playing on concert stages and in bars
and the living rooms and kitchens of lovers and friends.
The money isn’t much these days
Tonight, only enough for breakfast, gas and rehairing a bow
shredded to bits playing for a rowdy weekend crowd
and you are SO tired –
too tired to feel the rain on your back
but not the pain of arthritis
that has crept into your body like a curse.

And then you see him –
arranging cardboard boxes into a temporary shelter
part of the construction project.
His only need now is staying dry
and avoiding confrontations
with a city cop or some drunk sadistic kid.
He looks up as you approach in the wet dim light
his apprehension draining away
when he sees the friendly fiddle case
and your eyes meet his a moment
as you reach into your pocket
and hand him twenty dollars of your night.
He blesses you, “Bless you! Thank you!”
You tip your hat and smile
then head to your car thinking
the sun is coming up soon
and you have a bed with sheets
a porch to sit and sip good coffee later
with the robins and watch the day unfold
feeling rich – feeling blessed.

My day (and sometimes night) job is as a freelance illustrator/designer developing interpretive text and illustrations for environmental education exhibits. My passion is working with Alliance for Tompotika, an environmental organization involved in rainforest/community conservation work. I provide art and design for the group and have had the opportunity to teach art and ecology workshops for youth in SE Asia. My other passion is poetry– reading and writing it. Heart of Darkness, a narrative poem was published in In the Mist, Imagining Babylon in Paradigm and Imagine, Night visitor and Albatross in Barnwood International Poetry Magazine.

(author retains copyright)