Marching Band Adjudication Services
You do not see us, but we move among you
with our special lenses and very small
notebooks.  Once in a great while,

a part of us will grow fond 
and rush to cradle the elbow 
that is about to give beneath your sousaphone

just to see you gleam and sound
against the dark of the sky’s decaying teal.
Yes:  even those charged with the rigorous

application of standards grow weak
trying to bear the terrible negotiations of energy
with shapes such energy rushes against.

Some call us angels.  We are
only given to say how far
into the air got the sound 

you asked to move through
such puzzles of brass and wood and flesh
and skin pulled tight—

                                     I remember

moving through an expensive restaurant 
with more of my kind.  Candles desperately licked 
in rows beneath thorny crystals:

the light rivered along the white, white tablecloths
of the empty tables as we swept 
toward the porch in the back 

to eat beyond our means, always beyond 
our means, beneath the questions crickets 
chisel out of quiet 
                                     when the lights go out.
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