fails, yet the piano learns the music
a 10-year-old wants
to make: this difficult June
the fingers pace into,
counting rhythm with the heart or breath--
I hear it through the roses
that I weed outside his practice room.
Separating the bermuda
grass's successive, fugal nettings
from rose thorns,
my fingers inattentively rub
pain as his rub song--I have blood-dots
on my wrists & dirt
from which I take blood-smell.
The music stops
as my fingers find the roots,
the earth pulling back
at my pull. Matthew, I know, is listening
for what I hear as I listen,
as quiet as I can be
to the process the Bach exercise
posits because silence
is not an evasion but a challenge the musician
dares--each of us listens
on his side of the open window.
Copyright c 1993 by Oberlin College. May not be
reproduced without permission.