The Piano – hour FOUR

My piano is an old Wurlitzer my grandfather

won in a poker game and

nearly sent my grandmother over the edge

when he brought it home at 3am.

It sits in my living room getting even older.

 

The keys are losing their action and

their ivory — authentic, not the white plastic they

use nowadays — has yellowed in places,

chipped in others but

I keep it all anyway, the way I keep other

memories that aren’t mine yet

claim me.  I am the Grand

Curator of stories not my own.

 

I sift through the photos from

my mother, tucked into cardboard

albums softened over decades.

Strangers smile back at me. My mother, slim and twenty,

among them.

 

I have sheet music from my father and

I play their tunes and hear his voice but

it’s the made-up voice of 30s dance halls and 40s big bands

and 50s musicals where the boy gets the girl in the end.

He used too much pedal when he played them and it used to

make me laugh the way the notes would

wash into each other

 

the way these thoughts wash into each other.

One superseding another. One eddying into another’s surge

eroding both. Leaving me with this

keyboard and these wraiths that aren’t mine but

are what I have.

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