My Mother's Song

C sharp C sharp

The phrase repeats

and every time

instead

my finger hits

C natural.

I know

it's not the note

Chopin wrote.

But if I play

the right one

it cuts into me,

the melody

is tender

and tears me.

My mother listens

to me practice.

She sings the note

to make the music whole.

Her voice, a lily,

opens to me

in the next room.

She knows the phrase.

It catches in

her deepest throat

behind her tongue.

She feels the sadness

of the music,

knows how

I resist it,

but sings for me

C sharp.

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