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Invitation to the Opera
Kevin Arnold


They say to handle each paper once,
but I can never do that with opera invites,
for I am someone who would like to like opera.
So when one comes, along with the bills,
fundraising letters from my daughter's pricey college,
small magazines that published my work—
magazines I keep renewing but never find time to read,
even gold-embossed credit-card offerings to my ex-wife,
it's the opera offer I can't throw away.

It would be so good if I could get my daughter to go.
I wonder whether to subscribe or just pick one or two.
Perhaps start with a familiar name:
La Traviata, Madame Butterfly, Aida, or Carmen.
Or how about these colorful ads for the new ones:
The Death of Klinghoffer or Nixon in China—
any program that puts the stars in tails and flowing gowns.
Some Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, maybe next year
I'll be there, part of the daringly dressed audience
as the lights dim. Imagine me in that heart-stopping
quiet just before the songs echo into the night.

© by Kevin Arnold.
Used with the author's permission.

Kevin Arnold holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Jose State University. His newest book is Do Not Think Badly of Me (Manzanita Writers Press). Kevin was named "Writer of the Year" by the California Writer's Club. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where he enjoys enjoys skiing, horses, competitive tennis, and duplicate bridge. Learn more about him at




Post New Comment:
Joe Sottile:
I enjoy poems that resonate within me. This one does. I save magazine subscription offers, and then I don't order them--it's about the economy! I save tour guide offers to various cities and activities for the same reason. And sometimes I turn the volume up loud and listen to operas in my car, and daydream about being more than I am.
Posted 03/01/2011 09:47 AM
Very nice poem. I love opera. I'm imaging "me in that heart-stopping quiet just before the songs echo into the night."
Posted 03/01/2011 09:03 AM
i love this poem. i love the voice in the line, "some Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, maybe next year / I'll be there ..." wonderful!
Posted 03/01/2011 06:55 AM

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