I went to a masterclass
the woman said loudly.
Do you know that the singers
 - beautiful voices -
didn’t have a clue 
what they were singing about?

The stranger across the table from me
frowned in irritation
the pages for the synopsis 
for Act Two of Rameau's
Castor et Pollux open in his hand.

The woman repeated
what she had already said
a little differently this tme
but with the same emphasis.
Her friends muted friends listened on,
holding their drinks and unsure
how to change the topic.

I stirred sugar into 
my Concertgebouw cappuccino,
a cup small enough to finish
in time for the second bell.

It’s hard to understand the words
the woman said loudly.
Just think if a French singer
is singing in English
or a Dutch singer
is singing in German

Across the table from me
the stranger sighed
his mind half grapsing 
a story about twins
and different fates 
and a libretto in
antiquated French.

I played the flute and piano
the woman said loudly.
When I was three I sang a song
oh, I liked that song 
I sang it along to the record player.
I still have that record.

I finished my coffee and sat
waiting for the next assault
on my sensibilities

But my mind wandered off
remembering the man in head to toe 
black leather trousers, jacket and cap
pushing his bike up the bike ramp 
his silver chain glinting in the sun
as I made my way down the steps
I noted the fresh green leek 
sticking out of his bike basket.