All through Don Giovanni, the lovers hold
The cumbersome score between them like a chart
To orchid-spattered islands drenched by storms,
Their fingers pacing to the music’s pace,
Limning the legend, skimming note and bar,
As, naked, they might trace each other’s forms.

Coughs from the curtained boxes, whispered words
Cannot distract this pair from their pursuit
Of paradise. Out of a fastfood bag
They share cold wurst. An orchard brewing fruit,
A paper harp to play glissandos on,
The score ordains the downfall of the Don.

To Mozart’s mind, love hallows quenchless thirst.
Turning each page, intent, their fingers glance.
At last Don Pedro’s stone shape rumbles in
To ask, “Is dinner ready yet?” Accurst
Hot hands jerk Giovanni down to Hell
And passion hurls them off to their hotel.

X. J. Kennedy

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 11 Number 4, on page 36
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