Atonal Air

By Eli Parker

Artwork by Alli Rowe

The smoke trembled in the air
as if it too could sense the frenzy in the music.
The rhythm coming from the band
holds captive its audience,
as to escape without its conclusion
would be unthinkable.
It paralyzes us in motion,
and it is lovely to surrender to it.
I remember
at one point in the night, the band’s instruments broke.
The guitar tendons tore,
the drums ripped and stopped beating,
and the saxophone necks snapped.
But the rhythm kept going in the animal night,
existing in people’s feet and in our heads.
In our voice boxes and in our very breathing.
Not even one smile faded in the atonal air
It took mere minutes
for a new band to substitute in.
They played good music too.
But in those millions of milliseconds,
when the rhythm came from nowhere in particular,
you could see the spirit of the night in truest form,
and you could see it pour out from within us all.

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