Rehearsal Hall by Diana Rosen

She loves hanging out in Wattles Park gazing
at the lush community garden tilled by urban dwellers
eager for the primitive feel of dark, moist earth. It’s an anomaly,
this patch of tilled land among the apartments with character
and never enough parking of contemporary Hollywood. She
comes to play her pear wood recorder, mouthpiece worn smooth
as velvet, sharp edges of note holes melting into her fingers
as the motets and minuets dance among tomatoes, bok choy,
mustard greens. She sits among ruins of an edifice with a half column
there, stone bench here, rain-washed cement floor of barely visible
hand-painted fleur-de-lis. Stars of the movies, decked out in tuxedoes
and satin gowns would arrive here in long black limousines,
like a shiny line of ants, to take their places under the moon applauding
for performances without the ever present camera. She imagines
Isadora Duncan dancing across the stage, her signature white silk scarf
floating behind her or Paderewski, playing sending thunderous notes
on the ivory keys, soaring up the heavens. Her own music seems so small
against the memory of these great talents but she continues for the pure
pleasure it brings her, laughs when the cornstalks undulate as if to say,
Encore! Dusk falls as she packs up, walks down the sloping dirt path,
stopping every few trees to crush pine needles in her hands for the burst
of scent. She detours to re-visit ancient yellow roses struggling to stay
alive, peers into the dilapidated teahouse where a once-vivid scroll hangs,
its faded calligraphy a glimpse of disciplined beauty. A rusted brazier
awaits honored guests. At the bottom the hill, she turns to gaze up,
wonders what Duncan and Paderewski thought about entertaining the elite
of the silver screen on summer nights redolent with rose and pine.

Diana Rosen’s flash fiction and poetry have been published in anthologies and journals including, among others, Kiss Me Goodnight, Altadena Poetry Review, Rattle, Tiferet Journal, Silver Birch Press, Ariel Chart, and Poetic Diversity. She has published thirteen non-fiction books. and teaches free-write classes at senior citizen centers.




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