Because the widow of the arms manufacturer
loves to listen to concertos in the evening,
the city finally has an orchestra.
All his life that honest man, her husband,

served humanity by making guns,
then in his sleep one night performed
the final philanthropic act of dying.

Now we lean back in our deep upholstered seats
and float up through the auditorium,
lifted on a wind of twenty violins.

Where are the atrocities of yesteryear?
sings the chorus in Italian.
Where are the slaves and graves?

Down in the concrete, under the foundation,
answers the bassoon.

The earth is a lady who refuses to gossip.
One of her virtues is fast forgetting.
So no one smells the gunpowder
buried deep inside the curtains;

no one sees the blood congealed
around the legs of the piano
as the baritone begins his serenade.

But sometimes you can glimpse,
barely visible above the brass,
those small red threads
woven through the air like writhing nerves.

These, too, are part of our inheritance;
these, plus a love of music.