A Stately Gentleman, All in Black and Shades of Gold

When all else had gone from him, language and thought and memory and desire, still his fingers moved silently in their accustomed ways, scales, arpeggios, melody, and still ran the bright thread of music through his gross flesh, and so it was that the light shone undimmed from his rheumy eyes. He liked to sit beneath the trees in the park, where the sun moved through the leaves and crept hour by hour over his legs. For all of this he had no words, nor expectation. Delight was to sit. Wonder was sun’s movement. As he waited there his bent and shaky neck kept the time, his lips twitched against a mouthpiece that was gone beneath the waters the Gulf of Mexico long ages before, and all he was, was glory.

In autumn it was, the last nice day of the year, when the world smells of spices. He was there beneath the trees, his knobbly knees covered o’er with dry leaves. The shuff of a step through the windfalls, and between him and the sun was a shadow. Bare his gums and slimed, but still a smile he made. His sight had gone with the bright trumpet into the waters. Into his hands came the feel of warm metal, and he exalted. To his lips he raised the trumpet and briefly went his soul, aloft on the rope of song.