My Friend, The Pianist

For Michael Caldwell

 

I want him
to pull out
every song
in his repertoire,
Beethoven, Mozart,
Rachmaninoff, Chopin,
the music nobody
can perfectly pin down,
untwine the notes
from his fingers,
unleash his aging body,
take the fear
and the almost-fear,
and the love,
especially the love,
and then
and then
play them
on his piano
and see how
they sing
and his heart jumps!

 

Inspired by a slightly more solemn poem, My Friend’s Divorce, by Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

 

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I filled the ‘O’ in LOVE with black
after you broke my heart.
You slipped into the dark hole
of memory, my source of nightmares.

She spoke French.
I spoke heartbreak.
You said swear words
I didn’t know existed.

I opened the window and
thought about jumping, but
I worried you wouldn’t hear
the thud, and the trees’
branches would catch me.

I threw out all your stuff
and her flimsy dresses.
I saw a pink one, fitted,
slinky, and imagined it
clinging to a body
like betrayal.

The clothes hung on
to the trees, flares of love
signaling my rescue from above.