Beth Levin

9th St.

Get up in the dark
feel for my pants and shoes
coffee offers false hope
the eyes not responding

Mustard pillars below ground
Wet Paint
voices travel the cold tiles
(mustard gas a possibility they say)

Stand the whole way
feel for my music
reading “Esme” miss my stop

Extract of Time

I live alone
Lulu cat strides the piano
sprick-spack sprick-sprack
One blue eye one green

My dreams have fled
I am content
laugh to myself
knowing the secrets truth kept
from desire

I fry two eggs in the iron skillet
butter bubbles the surface
dancing eggs balloon out
here and there
before becoming an omelet

At night wrapped in a patterned shawl
I rummage old letters with a Florentine eye
My lovers sweet cool
demanding unselfish

I hear a nuthatch
Woo-ee-ah Woo-ee-ah
all the day long

Death does not trouble
I hope he takes me
sitting at the window
staring at wild thyme

Since her age twelve debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Beth Levin has been celebrated as a bold interpreter of challenging works, from the Romantic canon to leading modernist composers like David Del Tredici and Andrew Rudin, both of whom have written works for her. The New York Times praised her “fire and originality,” while The New Yorker called her playing “revelatory.”