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as read by Jeremy:

as sung in Robert Gross' setting by Pamela Dellal at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, accompanied by Michael Manning (piano) and Roy Sansom (recorder):

Regretting that I could not stay to watch
as you put final touches to your canvas
I saw you through the window of your shop,
your shop pushed to the edge by the Depression.
(Fresh-cut blooms no longer paid the rent.)
You’d filled your shop with your own canvasses
all along the walls up to the ceiling.

Earlier, in daylight, I’d stopped by
to say hello––you’d left your door unlocked.
Too intent on painting to remember
to put your keys back in your pocket, you’d
just left them on the counter.  I’d gone
in back and found you at your painting.
I’d kept my visit short, just long enough
to risk paint on my jacket with a hug
which you’d also kept short, holding in place
a solid brick of air between our bodies,
an empty space that might have meant to say,
Not now, I’m painting, please don’t interrupt, 
or Not now, no, not ever, we’re both married, 
or maybe just That’s all I have to give. 

Now, in your window as the darkness fell
you sat painting in your empty shop
your back turned toward the street,
working with your palette knife and brush.
A bit of thinner on the corner of
a rag caressed the canvas while I watched.
I did not stay. (I was expected elsewhere.)

Were you at your place in the front room
because it had become too cold out back?
Or had you picked that spot to advertise
your painting and yourself to passersby?
Or were you waiting for a special friend––
working where you’d easily be found
your door intentionally left unlocked
(but not, of course, for me)?

as read by Jeremy (audio only):

as sung by Pamela Dellal (audio only):