Then and there

As poets ran long, I’d resigned
to not reading at all. Time was short.
Others needed the borrowed space at a fixed time.

It’s in this confusion, perhaps, some aspect of my defense
left mistakenly and waited outside
in the parking lot, leaned against the car
smoking hand-rolled cigarettes
—some such ghost, gone.
                                          And this other
spirit arrived to catch the words
in my throat.

I heard my own voice
sound that last warped note
like you hear from a broken guitar string.

I did not weep.
I promise you that much, my brother,
but you were in that room.
And something so suddenly, achingly
was said
then and there

though, I doubt I managed
an intelligible word.