Piano Lesson

Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash


Piano Lesson


You never learned to play the piano.
Had you done it, there would be
something to write about in a poem,
all those endless lessons having
converged into one—the very first.

How you sat down on the bench,
the sun glinting through the shades,
turning the maple wood bright red—
a seat of fire you were subjected to
for eternity in some personal hell.

How you touched the keyboard
tentatively with blind fingers,
ten newborn mice, hairless,
vulnerable, eyelids shut tight
against the light of the world.

How you held imaginary apples
in your downturned palms, thinking
of the bright-green orchard you were
kept out of that summer, tart moons
laughing at you from the branches.

How you played your first scale—
not that you knew what it meant, or if
you were doing it right—the teacher’s
voice filling your bewildered head
with terse, pregnant instructions.


First published in New Limestone Review, July 2019

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