The Piano Lesson
Somewhere outside, rain. In the cluttered practice room,
the scent of peppermint Lifesavers
hovers above the ivory-carved face
of music. His pencil tapped,
a metronome beating the souls
of Mozart and Bach, Haydn, Schubert.
Scales, he commanded.
In the key of D major.
Caged notes trembled,
yearned for the flight of gulls
wheeling white, then suddenly dark,
against the sun.
To demonstrate, he gathered up
all my broken passages, wrong-turnings
and lost notes, and he played...
stars breaking from cold exile,
a leaf-detached melody floating
to the river's surface
flowing over the pebbled bottom...
he taught me to take it in,
to give it back,
all the peppermint music.
I play, and become a child again,
watching the quiet burst of bubbles,
the leaves' golden courage
rushing to sea.