by Louie Skipper
I remember the great composers,
their heads, those simple mutes,
on the slave block of my weekly piano lesson.
Half a century ago, I came to nothing.
Mrs. Riley, patient as a nurse,
sat beside me on the bench as I made the piano suffer,
the eyes of Mozart straight ahead,
Nevertheless it was he alone who swallowed back
such monstrous violence,
his arm folded invisibly in rage and song,
then, once I was gone, raising his fingers above the keys,
threw the rest of his life before the silent room.
From the upcoming book, It Was the Orange Persimmon of the Sun, Settlement House, January 2009.