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The Patricia and Emmett Robinson Prize

Brian Slusher

Opera of My Life: List

I Saw the Operal of My Life

and the guy playing me
adjusted the eye patch I
never had as his tenor (I’m a
muddy baritone) leapt towards some
girl named Tora, who I think was
an amalgam of my college girlfriend
and a guinea pig that
died when I was five, and
she leaned from her bedroom window
while the song’s notes branded
the night’s hide. Later, as the
panicked crowd fled the colorful
bombardment of the advancing enemy,
which may have symbolized the terror
I felt before taking my driver’s test,
I noticed among the stampeding chorus
a man in a bowler hat stooped to
tie his shoe, and I thought
the lace is going to break, and when
it didn’t, the church spire exploded
and the burst of flame reflected
in Tora’s eyes revealed a mole
below her tear duct, just like the one
on my left thigh, only hers was
shaped like the profile of
Mother Teresa, while mine is closer
to the outline of a wheel barrow,
and as the orchestra crescendoed
I stood and clapped, left humming
(though I’m more of a whistler)
the finale, the reunion scene on
Mont Blanc, snow fluttering through
the raised hands of the yodeling lovers
and as I started to pull on my gloves,
I critiqued my fingers and realized
how fake they looked.

Opera of My Life: Text
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