Then and there

As the last poets ran long, I’d resigned
to not reading at all. Time was short.
Others needed the studio 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 I did have my turn
at the microphone, camera light blinding me.
This other
spirit arrived to catch the words
in my throat.

I heard my own voice
sound that last warped note
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,
finally was said
then and there

though, I doubt I managed
an intelligible word.

‘Then and there’ appears in ‘The Champion of Doubt